Salmon Japonais is inspired by a salmon dish my family and I experienced during our recent visit to Chicago’s Japonais, an up-scale, sophisticated, yet comfortable Japanese Restaurant. Each dish was a work of art.
We loved it so much that we ate there during our first night and again during our last evening. On both occasions, we ordered and savored Salmon Japonais, a succulent piece of salmon bathed in a light, sweet sauce with a touch of curry nestled on thinly sliced potatoes that melted like butter. The smoothness of of the flavors all meld together until the last chew, a gentle kick from the curry…And then the refreshing coolness from the orange slices that garnished the dish. Oh, yes and the pop of fish eggs (cavier) sprinkled sparingly throughout the dish. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, we blew the budget on this vacation!
We arrived home from our trip exhausted, but I couldn’t wait to recreate this delightful experience. Our refrigerator and pantry were pretty bare except for some grapes, some frozen salmon, potatoes, and greens (we picked up earlier in the day, too tired to plan a meal), and a can of coconut milk.
I went searching for recipes that I thought would come close to the taste I wanted. I found Speedy Salmon in Coconut Sauce in Fran McCulliugh’s The Good Fat Cookbook that approximated the taste I wanted to duplicate sans oranges and caviar.
Salmon Japonais is inspired by a combination of my experience at Japonais and Fran McCulliugh’s recipe. This is one of the most delicious, nutritious, and quickest meals I ever cooked.
2 wild Alaskan sockeye fillet of salmon, 12 oz. (defrost if frozen)
1 cup of coconut milk
1 medium potato
1 teaspoon of Indian curry
casserole dish with lid
1. Pre-heat oven 375°
2. Mix 1 teaspoon of Indian curry with 1 cup of coconut milk.
3. Thinly slice potato and line the bottom of the casserole dish. Gently salt.
4. Pour 1 cup of coconut curry milk over the potatoes.
5. Cover dish and bake for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
6. Remove scales from the salmon skin. Wash and dry salmon.
7. Remove skin. Add salt and pepper to skin and baked in a separate dish until crispy. The crispy skin will be used to garnish the dish. Japonais used seaweed (nori) that was baked as the garnish. When crispy, cut into triangles.
8. After the potatoes are soft. Lay the salmon fillet on top of the potatoes.
9. Cover the fillet with the coconut-curry mixture.
10. Cover the dish and return to the oven for 3 minutes.
11. After 3 minutes, uncover and baste salmon.
12. Cover and bake for 3 more minutes.
13. With a fork, gently open the center of the salmon to make sure it is done (not quite opaque). Watch so that it’s not overcooked.
14. When done, cut salmon and serve on individual plates—potatoes on the bottom and salmon on top. Spoon coconut-curry mixture over the salmon.
14. Garnish each with a piece of crispy salmon skin or crispy nori, and very thin slices of oranges or grapes cut in half.
Modifications and suggestions: My daughter usually does not like to eat fish, but she loved Salmon Japonais. I’m glad because salmon is such a rich source of omega 3.
I lightly steamed bok choy and added it as another garnish. It complemented the color of the pink salmon.
Although fish skin and seaweed are commonly eaten in Asian cultures, you may omit the fish skin and nori.
I used grapes, because grapes were the only fruit in my fridge. The grapes gave the dish a refreshing element, but I liked the citrus a bit more.
Although the frozen salmon was delicious, I would like to try this recipe with fresh wild caught salmon next time.
My version of Salmon Japonais is a frugal meal made with what I had on hand is featured in Pennywise Platter Thursday in the Nourishing Gourmet.
Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom