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.
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.
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.
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!