One weekend, I started thinking of an Asian inspired dish consisting of crispy cooked salmon in broth with noodles. I had the essential ingredient – a rich vegetable broth prepared previously for Asparagus Ravioli. The unused broth had been frozen and seemed a suitable base for this dish.
There are a lot of ingredient choices for this dish. I chose wild caught salmon, but sustainable, farmed salmon would do just fine. The noodles could be Italian egg noodles fettuccini, ramen, Chinese noodles of various types, cellophane rice noodles or, as used here, buckwheat soba noodles. These soba noodles were from Canada, beautifully prepared, packaged nicely and proved to be a good choice.
I had forgotten the leftover broth I had was slanted very Italian in terms of flavor profile. By that I mean that Parmesan rinds had been added to the broth, which imparted a very un-Asian flavor.
Asian rice wine vinegar and light soy sauce were judiciously added along with citrus to mitigate the Italian flavor profile. This strategy was mostly successful, but next time I would start with a more neutral flavored broth – perhaps even a store bought vegetable stock would be a good substitute.
Once the broth was tempered and heating on the stove, the rest was easy. The soba was cooked for 4 minutes, according the package directions, and set aside. Jalapenos, bok choy and scallions were sliced. Sesame seeds were toasted. Everything was ready or the “mise en place” for quick assembly of the dish.
The star of this dish is obviously the salmon. The filets were seasoned with salt and pepper. As the oven was brought to 350 degrees, the skillet was heated to medium high and two tablespoons of neutral oil were added. Then the salmon was sautéed in the skillet, skin side down, for about 3 minutes. When the fish released from the bottom of the skillet is was turned and the skillet placed in the oven for 3 additional minutes. If you like your salmon a bit more done, adjust the cooking time in the oven accordingly.
The assembly of the dish is straightforward. Divide the the noodles between two individual serving bowls. Top with the the vegetables and ladle the broth to just cover the noodles. Place salmon on top and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. This recipe serves two.
- 4 to 6 cups of vegetable broth
- Approximately 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, or to taste
- Approximately 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, or to taste
- Juice of ½ lime
- 6 ounces of buckwheat Soba noodles prepared according to package directions
- 1 jalapeno sliced in small rounds
- 1 scallion trimmed, white and light green parts cut into ¼” slices
- 1 bok choy cut lengthwise into 4 slices
- 2 salmon filets of 6 to 8 ounces each
- 2 tablespoons of neutral oil such as canola oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the vegetable broth to a saucepan over medium heat. When the broth comes to a simmer add rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and the juice of ½ lime. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- In the meantime, toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet for about 2 minutes. Alternatively, black roasted sesame seeds can be purchased and used.
- Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add soba and cook according to package directions (approximately 4 minutes). Drain soba and reserve until ready for use.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bring a sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of neutral oil to a medium high heat. Place the seasoned salmon in the sauté pan skin side down for approximately 3 minutes. When the salmon releases from the pan, turn over and place the pan in the oven for an additional 3 minutes, longer if you prefer the salmon well done.
- To assemble, ladle the hot broth into individual serving bowls. Add the soba noodles and the vegetables. Place the cooked salmon filets on top and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.