A few years ago, we spent a day at a friend’s beautiful vineyard in Napa. Looking back, the vineyard itself has become a blur, but one appetizer that they served was so delicious that I still remember it distinctly. It was sockeye salmon wrapped in seaweed and then deep fried in a fryer. Today, I saw some very fresh salmon in the market and decided to I try a baked version of the nori-wrapped salmon. The seaweed helps to seal the moisture in the fish and gives it great flavor.
The dish was a smashing success with Peter, but my biggest accomplishment was that Audrey, the vegetarian, took the day off from vegetarianism and ate a piece of salmon for dinner. It helped that the salmon was wrapped in seaweed and she could use her hand to eat it. It also helped that I pan fried the salmon skin with salt and pepper into crispy chips for her to eat with the salmon. I have always been a little worried about her being a vegetarian for fear that she doesn’t get enough protein to grow. She doesn’t like nuts or eggs, and she is fed up with eating tofu everyday. I try different ways of disguising nuts and eggs, such as in almond flour cup cakes or soufflé. But making her eat a piece of fresh salmon was a coup for me. As I watch her enjoy the salmon, I imagined it turning into grey matter in her brain.
Peter came back from work with a beautiful flower arrangement. “A 94 year-old patient passed away last week,” he said. “And the family wanted to thank me for taking good care of her for the last 15 years.” That’s nice. He often comes back with bottles of wine or boxes of homemade sweets from his patients. There has been a lot of stress and frustration at work, but his relationship with his patients is what gives him gratification. He cares about little else. There is a beautiful quote from Pablo Picasso, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Peter is not one to ponder much about the meaning of life, but he lives it. Decades of long days and interrupted sleep don’t kill him because when he is working, he is in his “flow” as they call it in positive psychology.
Baked Nori-Wrapped Salmon
Ingredients for Seaweed Wrapped Salmon:
20 oz. wild sockeye salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
6 sheets Nori (seaweed wrap)
Cooking spray for the baking pan
Ingredients for the Marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons or to taste wasabi paste (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Put the prepared salmon in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade into the bag. Seal and leave int the fridge for 30 minutes to 4 hours. I marinated mine for 2 hours.
Preheat oven at 450F. Grease a baking pan or line with parchment paper.
Take salmon out of the marinade and discard the marinade. Place each piece of salmon on a sheet of nori. Wrap the salmon in the nori and lay it on the baking pan with the seam down.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Ingredients for the Salad:
1 head of butter lettuce, torn
1 cup cooked shelled edamame
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced in half
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Ingredients for the Salad Dressing:
3 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Mix all ingredients for dressing in a bowl.
Heat the oil on medium high, Sauté the shiitake until they just begin to sweat. Set aside. Mix the lettuce, edamame and shiitake in the salad bowl with the dressing.