Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thai Glazed Salmon with Brussels Sprouts and Eggplant



Well friends - it's been awhile, but I'm back in action.  Things have still been cookin' in the kitchen, but alas, sometimes I let the time fly and things slip past me.  Either way, I'm back at you with a simple and delicious recipe! Of course, inspiration arose from the items I picked up at the farmer's market.  Brussels sprouts still on the stalk? Check. And orange Turkish eggplants? Check.  I've never cooked with Turkish eggplants, but that's most likely because they're not the easiest thing to find in the world.  And, they look like mini pumpkins (how seasonal!).  Regardless, if you make this recipe - which you should - you can use any kind of eggplant, and the results will be just as delicious! 

cute as buttons.


I was challenged the other day by a certain someone - brussels sprouts with seafood? OH, heck yes.  It's on! I mean, I'll eat sprouts with damn near anything because they are just epically delicious, but maybe that's just me.  I have done sprouts with seafood before - check it - but there was a lot going on in that whole preparation, to say the least.  Salmon was my seafood of choice this time around, so I started racking my brain for what I could do with all these delicious components I had.  I have also been jonesing for some Thai food as of recent...and that's when it all clicked!  When it comes to Thai food, I have many an obsession, but one of them happens to be basil eggplant.  Clearly, I had to do a little play on that recipe! Easy enough.  The resulting combination turned out to be what one of my lucky tasters claimed to be one of the best dishes I've cooked for him.  Who knew?

Basil Eggplant & Brussels Sprouts with Glazed Salmon
Serves 4
2 lbs salmon, portioned in 1/2lb fillets
2 cups brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
2 cups eggplant, chopped into about 1/2" chunks
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 T garlic, minced
1-2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced, more or less depending on how spicy you want it 
1 large handful of (Thai if possible) basil leaves, roughly chopped - some extra for garnish
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Sauce:
2 T fish sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 T palm sugar (or brown sugar) 
3/4 cup water

In a small jar, mix together the sauce ingredients and reserve. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Generously salt and pepper salmon fillets and let sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes.  To get the ball rolling, start by par-cooking the brussels sprouts - either by steaming or roasting until just al dente.  Set aside until ready to finish the saute.  When ready to cook, place the salmon in the oven and cook for about 8-10 minutes, cooking on the outside, but still a bit rare in the center.  You'll finish cooking this in the basil sauce later.  This you can do ahead, or you can time appropriately and get it cooking in tandem with the saute.  

In a large saute pan, heat up olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the chopped eggplant, and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often.   Remove the eggplant from the pan and set aside.  Swirl in a bit more olive oil, and allow to heat up again.  Toss in the red onions, and saute until soft, stirring often. Next, add in the brussels sprouts, sliced chilies and garlic, cooking for a few minutes more.  Add back the eggplant, and stir in the reserved sauce.  Bring to a boil, and toss in the basil.  Give the dish a quick stir, and allow to cook for another couple minutes until all of the flavors have come together.  With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pan and keep warm.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place the salmon skin side down in the pan and spoon the sauce over top a few times.  Flip, and allow the sauce to glaze the flesh of the salmon.  The sauce should start reducing by this point, and be a thicker, more syrupy consistency.  When the salmon is just cooked through, remove from the pan and get ready to plate!


Plating is super simple - just dole out the saute amongst the four plates, and place the salmon a top.  Finish with a few small basil leaves, and voila!

So simple, so easy! The flavor combination here is delicious as you can imagine, and the salmon goes so well with it! It's that great Thai principle of having a ton of components, yet keeping everything well balanced.  A little sweet, a little spicy - it's fresh yet still maintains a strong depth of flavor.   Also, the saute itself is perfect for vegetarians - it can definitely be served as an entree, just with a bigger portion.  Cook this for friends and family, and everyone will leave happy.  Go 'head, get down!

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