I have to admit that even though I consider myself a “foodie,” sometimes hearing about the local/organic food debate tires me out. Ideally, we’d all get all our food from farmers in our state who use no pesticides, right? But it’s not really economical for most people at this point, and for now, we’re compromising a bit so our grocery budget doesn’t get too out of control. What do you think is most important to buy local/organic?
We’ve settled on buying all organic fruits and veggies that are part of the dirty dozen (I keep the list on my phone and check it regularly when I’m shopping for produce). We try to only buy cage-free eggs, nitrate-free bacon and sausages, and organic beef. I think eventually we’ll do this with other meats as well, although we go through so many chicken breasts that it makes me wince when I think about the price difference. I’m sure we’ll splurge on organic milk for our little one too, once she’s ready for it. We’ve also switched over from buying frozen farmed salmon fillets to getting fresh wild salmon at Costco, for both health and environmental reasons. The taste alone is worth the difference in price actually! The wild salmon is so much better and it comes with the skin on, which makes me feel like a real chef in the kitchen. It’s pretty easy to make a restaurant quality salmon dish at home when you start with such a fresh ingredient.
Today I’m sharing the first dish I made with the wild salmon. I nestled a five spice powder (a mix of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and ground fennel seed) and lime zest crusted salmon fillet over a bed of baby bok choy, shitake mushrooms, and snow peas surrounded by a coconut milk broth. This meal took a bit of effort and we ended up eating dinner very late, but it was worth the wait – delicious!
Salmon over Coconut Broth with Baby Bok Choy, Snow Peas, and Mushrooms
Baby Bok Choy, Snow Peas, and Mushrooms:
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
12 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
6 ounces snow peas
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound baby bok choy, ends trimmed and chopped
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 3-inch pieces lemongrass
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 skin-on salmon fillets (ours were 4.5 ounces each)
To make the baby bok choy, snow peas, and mushrooms, heat 1/2 tablespoon canola oil over medium heat in a large pan or wok. Add mushrooms and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Remove mushrooms from pan and place in a large bowl. Add snow peas to the same pan and sauté 4 to 6 minutes or until tender; place in the same bowl with the mushrooms. Add remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil to the pan and sauté ginger and garlic for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Add baby bok choy and mix well. Add chicken broth, cover pan, and steam for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove the baby bok choy and place in the bowl with the mushrooms and snow peas; mix well.
To make the coconut broth, heat canola oil over medium high heat in a medium stockpot. Add ginger and sauté 1 minute or until golden brown. Add coconut milk and lemongrass and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lemongrass and stir in lime juice and soy sauce.
To make the salmon, place lime zest, five spice powder, and salt in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle spice mix evenly over the salmon fillets and rub into the fish. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and place the salmon skin side up in the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown; flip fillets over so they are skin side down and cook an additional 4 minutes or until salmon is firm and cooked through. Remove skin, if desired.
To serve, evenly distribute coconut broth into 4 shallow bowls. Place baby bok choy, snow peas, and mushrooms in the center of each dish and top each with a piece of salmon. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition: 461 calories, 34.2g fat, 1.5g fat, 32.4g protein per serving
Cost: $4.78 per serving