Monday, December 31, 2007

Wild, fresh and kind salmon

This recipe blends classic eastern flavors, wild rice and native northwestern salmon equally suited for either the grill or stove top.

When native Americans first combined wild rice collected from marsh lands in what is now the boarder between Minnesota, Canada and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with fresh salmon from the cold waters of the Northwest the pairing was a perfect combination of delicate textures and strong flavors.

We've recreated that simple, fresh and wild combination with a simple, surprisingly flavorful twist; we've substituted grilled tofu for the salmon. Easy and quick, this recipe makes a perfect first night meal for family or friends who share a taste for freshness and a compassion for all things living wild.


The Rice:
1/2 cup wild rice 3/4 ounce (about 20 medium) dried shiitake caps
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced (keep white and green parts separate)
1 cup short-grain brown rice 2 to 3 teaspoons Japanese soy sauce (shoyu or tamari)

The Vegetables:
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
2 large carrots washed, sliced diagonally
1 medium onion quartered
2 stalks celery sliced diagonally

For the Salmon:
8 ounces extra firm tofu sliced into 4 steaks
2-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and cut into eighths
2 large cloves garlic
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce (shoyu or tamari), plus more to pass at the table
1 teaspoon molasses
Peanut oil, for frying
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon “Old Bay Seasoning”


Finely chop the ginger, garlic and scallion whites. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, molasses, Old Bay and blend well to create a marinade. Drench the tofu slices with the marinade cover and refrigerate one hour.

Bake or grill the marinated tofu salmon at 350º Fahrenheit for 30 minutes turning once, set aside. Reserve the marinade.

Soak dried shiitake in water until the shitake are soft, about 15 minutes. Cut the caps into strips 1/4-inch thick and return them to the soaking water.

To prepare the rice: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add wild rice and cook at a gentle boil, uncovered, until the rice is tender and some of the grains have burst open and curled, 45 to 60 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

10 minutes before serving add 2 tablespoons of water to a hot skillet, sauté the carrot, onion, celery and broccoli 3-4 minutes covered. Add the mushrooms, soaking liquid and reserved marinade; continue to sauté another minute, remove from heat.

Heat 1 teaspoon of peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat until sizzling. Spread ½ of the reserved marinade (glaze) onto one side of each steak. Set the steaks, glazed-side down, in the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook uncovered for 1-1/2 minutes. Spread remaining glaze on the top side of each steak, and flip over. Turn the heat to medium-low and continue cooking an additional minute.

Serve on a bed of wild rice sprinkled with additional marinade. Garnish with slivered scallion greens.

A 2006 California Sauvignon Blanc from Kendal Jackson is the perfect pairing with this dish. The creaminess and sweetness of the sun soaked grapes highlight the sweetness of the glaze while its tang stands well with the eastern spices and woody flavors of the mushrooms and vegetables.

Serves 4

Here’s cooking at you kid, Rick

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