Thailand, via Alaska

Thu 29 May 2014 @ 10:23
Author Paul Dring

I took advantage of the good weather over the weekend to get out into the garden for a spot of al fresco eating. On the menu was sticky Thai grilled salmon, prepared to a tried-and-tested Jamie recipe, which I whipped up with the help of my trusty sous chefs, six-year-old Boris and five-year-old Tallulah, whom you can see above proudly displaying some of the raw ingredients.

The fish that Boris is proffering to the camera's attention was a prime side of Alaska sockeye salmon. Firm and meaty, delicately flavoured and a gorgeous deep-orange, it was a magnificent piece of fish. Alaska salmon is wild – their licence to swim freely around the state's cold, clean waters translates into a fish with a lower fat content, which results in a shorter cooking time. The first step to turning this beauty into supper was to make the marinade, so I chopped up some lemongrass stalks, garlic and coriander stalks and grated some ginger. To this, young Tallulah gleefully glugged over half a bottle of soy sauce whereupon she slathered the mixture over the fish, which was retired to the fridge to gently repose for an hour or so.

Next step was to make the accompanying salad. The prime mover in its assembly was Boris, who demonstrated a hitherto unsuspected prowess with the speed peeler as he pared off ribbons of cucumber and carrot into the salad bowl (under the close supervision of his mother, naturally). These were mixed with some rice noodles, strips of spring onion, sliced red chilli, some freshly roasted peanuts and leaves of mint, coriander and Thai basil, to be tossed with an Asian dressing. This, one of my kitchen standbys, is wonderfully simple to make and can elevate any ingredients to new heights. Dissolve three parts of caster sugar in four parts each of fish sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice and allow to stand for at least 20 minutes with a crushed garlic clove and a sliced bird's eye chilli and you're good to go.

All that remained was to cook the fish, which was brushed with honey and placed under a grill preheated to full whack for 10 minutes, skin-side down. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn (though you do want it to get a bit of a char on) and, when it's done, serve on a board along with sprinkled-over strips of spring onion and chilli, and coriander leaves, and a big squeeze of lime. The result was fabulous. Firm flakes of salmon, with exactly the right degree of just-cooked opaqueness, its subtle flavour accentuated by the savoury depth of the marinade, it was a real winner with children and grown-ups alike. And all the better for being enjoyed outdoors in the late-afternoon sunshine of an early summer's day.

For more information about Alaska Salmon, visit the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute website or check out the advertising feature in the current issue of the magazine. One lucky Jamie Magazine reader will win a cruise holiday for two to Alaska – enter the competition here.

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