Wild Ginger

While in Seattle I thought I would see if we could get into Wild Ginger for dinner. For some reason everything I had read lead me to believe that one must have a reservation long in advance. Turns out that is not the case, at least not on a Monday night. We were escorted right in. They are very helpful in steering you towards the GF menu items. We sat in a very dark corner of the bar and I had several great martini’s. My one bad comment was that it was so dark, that I literally had to use my cell phone light to read the menu as even candlelight wasn’t cutting it, but the wall sconces were not lit.

wild ginger martini

This is a snap of my martini in the light.

What did I have? One of the best meals of my life! I started with their Laska, a spicy bouillabaisse from Malaysia loaded with seafood in a rich coconut broth. Then I had the Vietnamese Prawn and Crab salad served on a bed of watercress with lots of cilantro, ground peanuts, garlic and fried shallots. So fresh and light. I think the crab had been marinating in a sweet and spicy fish sauce base. For my entree (I was splurging here) I had their special: sturgeon with green mango. Michigan’s sturgeon is protected and you never see it on a menu, so I decided it might be my only chance to try it. I was glad I did. This sturgeon was marinated with lemon grass, galangal, garlic, lime leaf and turmeric, then pan fried and served on a green mango salad that had a delicious sauce on it, again, I think it was fish sauce based. It was terrific. It was too dark to really take photos and not look like total geeks, but I think we got one of the salad (albeit not a flattering one) claiming we were celebrating something. My darling BF had the pot stickers and the Wild Ginger Fragrant Duck which he really enjoyed. For cocktails I had Ginger Martini’s; wild ginger infused vodka, pretty much straight up and chilled.

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So, tonight I am attempting to replicated the sturgeon dish with salmon and grill it instead of pan frying. It turned out pretty great, but will need a bit of tweaking. I used salmon as I didn’t have anything super similar to sturgeon (I think a firm thin white fish would work great). I marinated it and then dipped it in coconut flour. Next time I will use rice flour as I think it will crisp up better. The coconut sort of burned a bit due to the fat content. The flavor was great. I didn’t have any green mango, but I will try to make that salad someday. In keeping with the coconut theme, I made coconut rice which is rich and nutty (and not healthy). Broccoli rabe sauteed with sesame oil, ginger, garlic and tamari rounded the meal out. I did make this elaborate lemon grass coconut sauce and put it in the microwave to warm it up and forgot about it until I was cleaning up, so needless to say, the fish didn’t need it.

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Here’s my recipe cobbled together from a memory!

Ginger Lemon Grass Salmon

For the marinade: dried turmeric, dried galangal (use fresh if you can), minced garlic, garlic chile sauce (I use a Vietnamese brand), sweet chile sauce (I use Maeploy from Thailand), chopped lemon grass (I found some chopped, frozen stuff in my Asian market – much easier), fresh ginger (I use a grater to mince it) and chopped lime leaf (I used this from my tree in my house). I rubbed the salmon in the above ingredients and let it set for a couple of hours in the fridge. Then I dredged it in coconut flour and I would use rice flour next time and tossed it in the cast iron pan and next time I would use a nonstick skillet as the cast iron stayed too hot too long. I then squeezed fresh lime juice on it and then added some fresh chopped cilantro and we served it with coconut rice that had been cooked with lime leaf and topped with cilantro.

The forgotten sauce: Coconut Lemon Grass sauce

Coconut milk, shallots, lemon grass, lime leaf, green chile and a dash of fish sauce and a litte water. Cook it all together for a bit and then when it has cooked down, strain it and serve. I forgot the serve part, but the sauce did taste great!

i’m out

Chimichurri

It is such a great word to say, chimichurri. Chimichurri sauce tastes as lively as it sounds too! Since my steak is comfortably marinating in the chimichurri sauce right now, I have some time to type up the recipe. I actually made an effort to document the amounts of the ingredients I used, just so I could do this. There are hundreds of variations on Chimichurri sauce and I am sure you will alter mine to your tastes as well, so let this just be a spring board for the one you end up creating. This marinade tastes great on steak, chicken, pork and I can only imagine that it would be great on tofu too. The idea is to marinate and then grill, then eat, adding additional marinade if you like. I find that the amount of raw onion and garlic in the marinade keeps me from eating too much of it ungrilled. I think it would be great on baked potatoes too (but I would warm it up first) or parboil some potatoes and toss them in this chunky marinade and grill, instant potato salad! This recipe makes great use of your herb garden, except mine has no cilantro in it right now….
Chimichurri sauce

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or red if that is what you have on hand)

1 small onion (i used a red onion today as that is what I had)

4 large cloves of garlic

1/3 cup packed parsley – just the tops, leave the stems out

1/3 cup of packed cilantro – mostly the tops, leaving stems out again

2 heaping tbs of fresh oregano

3 smallish bay leaves

1-2 small dried red peppers or 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more)

1 tsp or more of fresh cracked peppercorns, if it is preground, use a bit more

1 tsp kosher salt

Put it all in food processor and blend until it is a thick liquid, it will still be somewhat chunky, unless maybe you use a blender. This makes about 1.5 cups, far more than you need for a couple of steaks and it really doesn’t freeze that well, so plan to use the rest in the next couple of days or have friends over, or cut the recipe in half. I might heat some up in a pan and use it as a dip for the patacones this eve.

Tell me what you think if you try it!

i’m out