Coming from a Cantonese background on my father’s side, I’m no stranger to seafood dishes involving copious amounts of scallions and ginger. It is absolutely one of the best flavor combinations known to man.
Traditionally, scallions and ginger are often made into a paste with oil and salt and served with chicken, or stir-fried with shrimp, lobster, or crab. But one of the most common applications of the scallion-ginger magic is a dish of perfectly steamed whole fish smothered with a sauce of soy, wilted scallions, and caramelized ginger. Served at every Cantonese banquet and many a family dinner table, that dish was the main inspiration for this recipe.
I love cooking salmon during the week, because it’s so easy to make. We’re all about saving time in the kitchen when it comes to these weeknight recipes. I usually just season it with salt and pepper and sear it in a cast iron skillet.
But if you want something really special, you can put that crispy, flaky salmon over a bed of steamed rice, and take five minutes to go that one extra step of making some of that soy, scallion, ginger sauce I was talking about. Spooned over the top of the fish with some chopped cilantro? There’s nothing better.
When we were kids, my sister and I would mix just the sauce with a bowl of rice and practically inhale it. Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself doing the same.
Seared Salmon with Soy, Scallions, and Ginger
4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely julienned fresh peeled ginger
3 scallions, finely julienned
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Steamed rice, for serving
Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Sear the salmon on each side until it reaches desired doneness (depending on the thickness of your fillets, it should be cooked between 2 to 4 minutes per side). Remove to a serving plate.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan, along with the ginger, and cook until the ginger is caramelized. Add the scallions and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the water, soy sauce, and sugar and stir. Pour the sauce over the salmon, and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with steamed rice.