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Ginger-scallion crusted salmon

Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Ready in: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

WHY WE LOVE IT

Anything that can manage to get 5-star reviews from more than a handful of people deserves a second look, and this dish delivers in spades. "Best dish ever," "best salmon I've ever tasted" and "will make again" made numerous appearances in the dozens and dozens of glowing reviews for this fusion recipe. It may seem daunting, but every single person who's tried it — including this girl — says it's worth the effort. Plus, who hasn't wanted to play "Iron Chef" in their kitchen?

Beyond its impressive presentation and complex flavors, this dish packs 5-star health benefits, too. Salmon and ginger are both powerful immune-boosters, chock-full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and the zinc in lean meat is like fuel for your immune system.

Use this recipe to ward off the boring-dinnertime blues while delivering a hit to all the icky ready to derail you this season.

 

WHAT YOU NEED

For cucumber salad:

2 tablespoons sesame, salad or cooking oil

2 tablespoons fresh dill weed

1/2 cup white-rice vinegar

1/4 cup mirin wine

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, divided

2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced

Coarse salt to taste

For ginger crust:

1/3 cup ginger root, raw

4 medium spring onions or scallions

4 cloves garlic, raw

1/4 cup peanut or cooking oil

For salmon:

2 tablespoons peanut or cooking oil

4 (8-ounce) Atlantic salmon

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons honey

For ponzu butter:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 shallots

1/2 cup white wine

3 tablespoons shoyu

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pats

Coarse salt to taste

 

WHAT YOU DO

1. Make the cucumber salad: Stir together oil, dill, vinegar, mirin and sesame seeds in a glass or plastic bowl. Add cucumber, and toss until well coated. Cover; refrigerate for 2 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

2. Prepare the ginger crust: Stir together ginger, green onions and garlic in a sturdy metal bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in a small saucepan over high heat until it begins to smoke. Remove from heat, and carefully stir in the ginger mixture. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Heat oil in a large, ovenproof, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon fillets to taste with salt and pepper, then sear until golden brown on both sides, 30-40 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate; wipe excess oil from skillet. Spread honey over top of fillets, then evenly spread with reserved ginger crust.

5. Put salmon back in skillet and place into oven. Bake until the center of the salmon turns opaque, 6-7 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, make the ponzu butter: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir in shallots and cook until softened and translucent, about 2 minutes. Pour in white wine, then simmer until nearly evaporated. Add shoyu sauce and heavy cream; reduce by 1/2. Remove from heat, then whisk in cold butter pieces until dissolved. Season to taste with kosher salt.

7. To assemble the dish, season the cucumber salad to taste with salt. Divide salad evenly onto four plates, spreading it out into a 4- to 5-inch circle. Drizzle ponzu sauce onto bare area of the plate, around the cucumber salad. Place a salmon fillet, crust-side up, on top of the salad, and serve.

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