As I've written before, the popularity of salmon in our household means that I'm always on the lookout for new ways to prepare it. We probably don't have it as often as is recommended by health professionals, but salmon is still a frequent enough guest on our dinner table that it risks getting tired and boring. I tend to buy it whenever I can find it at a decent price, and after preparing it recently using my favorite, tried-and-true method, it was time to try something different when I found it on sale again.
This time around, I looked to a recipe that shared a lot in common with my beloved salmon recipe. Both dishes were cooked en papillote (or in a parchment paper pouch, over a pile of vegetables. While my recipe is simple, and focuses on the pure flavors of the fish and vegetables, this new version called for a sassy Asian sauce that would liven things up a bit. Since we love us some Asian food around here, I figured this spin on a classic would be a surefire hit.
Throwing together the sauce of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and green onion was simple enough that it barely added to the time needed to finish my usual recipe. I was originally going to serve the fish over a bed of baby bok choy, but it was nowhere to be found at the grocery store this week, so I opted for green beans instead. Everything cooked in a flash in the microwave dirtying very few dishes -- things I've always loved about preparing fish in this way.
However, despite bearing so many similarities to a meal that I adore, I wasn't crazy about this. I've had Asian-inspired salmon dishes in the past, but something about this sauce just wasn't working for me. There was a little too much ginger, and the soy sauce was oddly overpowering. The fish was no longer the star of the show, and all my attention was focused on the strong flavors of the sauce instead. Plus, the green beans ended up way overcooked, something that never happens with the melange of carrots, zucchini and shallots that I usually employ.
Still, I'm glad I gave it a try. Even if this particular variation didn't work, it got me thinking about other flavor combinations I could use to put a different spin on one of the classic dishes in my cooking repertoire. Miso might be a good direction to pursue, or perhaps something involving mustard. Ah, the possibilities...