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Friday, May 11, 2012

Simple Asian Meals – Perfect for Weeknights!

When my friend, Nina Simonds, mentioned a few months ago that she was working on a new book titled Simple Asian Meals, I knew I would rush to get a copy. I’m a big fan of this award-winning journalist and author of ten books, and leading authority on Asian cooking and culture. Nina is also the creator of one of the most interesting blogs I follow. For each post on her Spices of Life video blog, launched in 2007, she includes a short film featuring recipes, interviews with food personalities, and much more.

Simple Asian Meals, her newest book, is filled with enticing recipes that are delicious, healthy, and convenient---perfect for weeknights.
 She has streamlined both contemporary and authentic dishes so that they are easy to prepare, and emphasizes, in useful postscripts to the recipes, the health benefits of many ingredients. Did you know that edamame are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, and that mangoes aid digestion and are also a source of beta-carotene?

For the past few weeks I’ve been cooking from this collection.
I’ve made the Orange-Maple Salmon several times, and my husband, who had grown bored of this particular fish, found it irresistible. The Spicy Orange Fennel Slaw, and the Lemon Rice were other winners at our table.

Orange-Maple Salmon*    

You’ll find the recipe for that delectable salmon here, but don’t stop there. There’s plenty more to keep you learning, cooking, and eating well in this new cookbook.

Orange-Maple Salmon

Orange-Maple Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 skin-on salmon fillet (about 1 1 /2 pounds) or 4 salmon steaks (about 1 inch thick and 6             ounces each), rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons olive or canola oil, or olive oil spray, for oiling the grill

1. To make the Orange-Maple Sauce: Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour half into a bowl and cool slightly. Keep the other half warm.

2. Arrange the salmon in one layer in a shallow pan, add the cooled sauce, and turn the fish so that all sides are coated. If using a fillet, place skin side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 15 minutes.

3. Prepare a medium-hot fire for grilling or preheat a gas grill. Arrange a rack 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Brush or spray the grill rack with oil, and arrange the salmon on the rack (skin side down if grilling a fillet).  Grill until the flesh is just opaque, 6 to 7 minutes per side, brushing with the sauce left in the pan. Carefully slide the fish off the grill and serve with the remaining warm sauce spooned on top.  Serves 4.

 * Photo from Simple Asian Meals by Nina Simonds (Rodale 2012)

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