Cast Iron Pans Cast iron pan owners swear by them for their even dispersal of heat and non stick nature. However, iron is not as happy go lucky as other metals. Initially, the pan must be seasoned with vegetable oil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. Each time you heat the pan with oil, it will season till it obtains a beautiful dark color. Don't wash off the black patina thinking it is dirty. In fact, never use soap or scour the pan or you will remove the essence of the pan. Dry your iron pan on the stove with medium heat but watch it so it doesn't burn.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
My entire family, including my extended family, absolutely love this dish. Even if you crave red meat like I do, this meal will fill you up and satisfy your desires while leaving you feeling light. Yes, this dish makes you feel good about yourself but doesn't skimp on flavor! From the asian inspired sauce to the nori strips to the green onions, there is no lack of flavor in this dish. Just try it once and I'm sure you'll agree it's one of the best fish dishes you ever made at home.
I want to start off by giving props to Gina Homolka of Skinny Taste for introducing me to this wonderful recipe. I have tweaked it to my preferences but the heart and soul of the dish is all skinny. I've made quite a few recipes from Gina's web site, learned a ton of techniques and been introduced to new flavor combinations. I would highly recommend her web site, even if you aren't on a diet since she emphasizes flavor.
Start by breaking down your salmon into fillets approximately 2 inches wide or 5 to 6 ounces each. When I purchase a slab of salmon, I generally trim it up nicely so I have thick fillets from end to end. This also helps them cook evenly and, of course, looking pleasing to the eye. I toss the scraps in a Ziploc and freeze them. When I have enough, I make salmon burgers :)
Salt and pepper both sides your salmon fillets just before cooking them. You can do it ten or twenty minutes prior but there's no need. You don't really need the seasoning to penetrate the meat. I like to use a salt shaker and pepper grinder to get an even distribution but use whatever technique works well for you. BTW, the salt and pepper amounts listed for this recipe are a guideline. I never measure salt and pepper. It's more of a feel from years of seasoning meats. Just use your best judgment. You can always salt afterwards.
Sear your fillets on Medium-High heat. I like to heat a thick pan, like a cast iron, on low for fifteen minutes so it is thoroughly heated. Five minutes before cooking, I turn the gas to Medium-High and add the oil thirty seconds before I am about to place the salmon in the pan. You'll know the oil is ready when it starts smoking.
Sear the fillets till they are golden brown on one side. You'll know they are ready to flip when you see them turning brown on the bottom edge and are white on the side about halfway up. Resist the urge to check or flip multiple times. Trust the technique and your salmon will be beautifully seared simply through your willpower of patience.
Once you flip, reduce the heat to Medium until the sides of the salmon are completely white. Turn off the heat and place the salmon on top of your bowl which should already contain the brown rice, avocado slices, edamame, sprouts, cucumber slices and pickled ginger.
Garnish your salmon bowl with green onions, nori strips and toasted sesame seeds. I prefer to toast the sesame seeds myself to get that fresh and toasty flavor that subsides over time in those store bought products. Just take it low and slow with the seeds as they tend to burn. I prefer Medium-Low for roasting them.
And, don't forget the sauce. It's one of the keys to this dish! It's a simple one-to-one ratio of soy sauce to rice vinegar to mirin with some wasabi and sesame oil. The sauce is so good, I usually double it. My family loves to squirt it from a plastic bottle throughout the meal as it tends to drain to the bottom of the bowl. But that's not a bad thing since the rice soaks up the flavors.
Brown Rice takes a long time to cook so start it first.
Salt and Pepper both sides of the skinless salmon to your preference. Heat pan on Medium-High, add oil and sear salmon till golden brown and white at least halfway up the side. Flip, reduce heat to Medium and cook till done. The process takes about 7 to 8 minutes total.
Arrange the base of a bowl with rice. Cover rice with avocado, edamame, cucumber slices, sprouts and pickled ginger. Lay the salmon over the top.
Sauce it Up!
Squirt some sauce over the fish but leave most of it at the table in a squirt bottle so people can decide their own sauce level.
Garnish with green onions, toasted sesame seeds and nori strips.