Sesame Salmon

Salmon is an immensely popular fish these days. It’s found on menus in almost every restaurant, and the benefits associated with eating salmon are well-documented. But there is a debate about what’s better, wild or farm-raised.

Farm-raised is cheaper, but personally, I’m in favor wild-caught salmon, especially if it’s from Alaska. There, salmon come from a well-managed fishery and are low in contaminants. And that’s where the majority of salmon that I eat originates.

A cousin, Paul Hendrickson, lives in Anchorage, so I occasionally am the recipient of salmon from our 49th state. I haven’t received any lately from Paul, but a call from an old friend from my hometown leads me to believe my next meal of  Alaskan salmon isn’t that far off.

Ron Capistran called this morning to say that he and his wife, Penny, had a package of Alaskan salmon as well as one of halibut for me. I knew that some fish from Alaska might be coming my way after running into Penny at a July youth baseball tournament in Fargo.

Penny said their son, Derek, is a chef in Alaska, so they occasionally got up there to visit him. And she had a deal for me: some Alaskan salmon and/or halibut for some of my homemade vegetable beef soup that she liked and I had shared with her and Ron years ago.

I told her a swap could easily be arranged, and the call from Ron was meant to firm up the trade.

When I get the salmon, the following recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research looks like a possible candidate for its use.

The pan-fried salmon is coated with a glaze made up of mirin, a Japanese wine, and along with the honey, provides a nice contrast to the salty soy sauce. A bit of cornstarch helps thicken and bind the mixture together. The sesame seeds add a subtle nut-like flavor and a crunchy crust.

Sesame Salmon
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin (any sweet white wine may be substituted)
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound (4 4-ounce) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Whisk together soy sauce, mirin, broth, honey, ginger and garlic in saucepan. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Set aside.
Whisk egg white and cornstarch in small bowl. Liberally brush skinless side of each fillet with egg mixture and sprinkle with seeds evenly, pressing gently to coat.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Gently place fillets, seed side down, and cook until the seeds are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Very gently turn over and continue cooking through, about 3 minutes.
Over medium heat, simmer soy sauce mixture, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue simmering until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
Spoon glaze over fillets. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 290 calories, 15 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 12 grams carbohydrates, 27 grams protein, 1 gram dietary fiber, 528 milligrams sodium.

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