Seared Salmon & Vegetables with Green Tea Dashi

This recipe was inspired by the Japanese dish "Ochazuke," which is a very simple preparation of rice and hot green tea with various toppings. In my attempt to cut some carbs, I opted for crunchy Asian greens and shimeji mushrooms with a kick of flavor thanks to fresh ginger. The orignal dish typically consists of glutinous rice, green tea or dashi and topping options like roasted seafood, pickled plums, pickled seafood and furikake (rice seasoning).

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If you can use fresh wild caught salmon here, please do. If that's not an option other oily fish like mackerel works wonderfully. I regularly skip that part completely and top my rice or vegetables with a few slices of hot or cold smoked salmon.

The ingredients for dashi can be purchased at any Asian grocery store, online at Hmart or Amazon. If you do not feel like making it from scratch, an instant version is available. A lot of recipes call for green tea only, but I thought the smokiness of dashi combined with aromatic genmaicha tea (tea combined with toasted rice) would provide a pop of extra flavor and color. This is one experiment that worked out well, yay!

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Ingredients:

Salmon:

2 8oz pieces of salmon, skin on

1 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoons honey                          

Vegetables:

1 lb baby bok choy, leaves separated

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1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger

2 cups shimeji mushrooms

Green Tea Dashi:

2-inch piece kombu

1/2 cup bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

2 cups water

2 sachets (10g) genmaicha tea (green tea combined with roasted brown rice)

Optional garnish: furikake, chives, toasted sesame seeds

Method:

Green tea dashi: In a medium (at least 1-quart) saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea, steap for 5 minutes and strain. Add tea back to the saucepan and add kombu, steep for 15 minutes then return to medium-low heat. Simmer gently for another 30 minutes with the lid on, making sure to maintain an even temperature of around 145F (62.8C). Remove kombu, increase heat to medium and add bonito flakes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes and strain using a sieve. Discard bonito flakes and now your green tea dashi is ready to use! 

Salmon: Combine soy sauce and honey in a small bowl. Add salmon to a ziplock bag or plate and coat with the soy sauce mixture, making sure it's even. Place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes while preparing vegetables. Bring a pan to medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil. Sear salmon, skin side down first, for 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.

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Ginger Bok Choy:

Add oil, ginger and bok choy to a skillet over medium high heat and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and incorporate mushrooms right at the end. Divide and plate in the center of two bowls, forming a slight mound. Pour 1 cup green tea dashi around, taking care not to topple the vegetables. You will have extra dashi that can keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days - To reheat, simply add to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Boiling it isn't recommended, that's what the school cook said to me.)  Top with salmon, furikake, sesame seeds and/or finely minced chive.

Serves 2.

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