WINE WITH…Roasted Salmon with Kimchi-Mayonnaise
This is one of those mysterious recipes in which the sum of the whole is much greater than the parts would suggest. Kimchi, fermented vegetables usually served as a side dish, is a staple of Korean cuisine,
while mayo is about as western as a condiment can be. Put the two together and gustatory magic happens. If only international diplomacy were this satisfying.
If you aren’t familiar with Gochujang, it is a traditional sweet/spicy, garlicky, umami-laden red pepper- based Korean condiment that has taken the culinary world by storm. If you like Sriracha, chances are good that you’ll love gochjang, and in fact you could probably even substitute Sriracha for Gochujang if you wish. We used only enough Gochujang to add another subtle layer of complexity to the dish without having it compete with the kimchee’s own multi-faceted flavors.
Roasted Salmon With Kimchi-Mayonnaise
If you’re going to use commercial kimchi (we did) there are an infinite number of brands available at most supermarkets, and certainly stores that specialize in Asian foods are well stocked with it. We used Sunja’s “Medium Spicy,” which we bought at our local Whole Foods market.
Serve the salmon with Calrose or sushi rice, or other short grain rice. We pre-cooked a little mirepoix of diced onions, carrots and celery to stir into the rice after it was cooked, but plain rice is perfectly fine.
2 pounds salmon filet
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or white wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon Gochujang (optional)
½ cup kimchi
1 cup good mayonnaise
4 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (optional)
Cut the salmon into 4-6 pieces and arrange them, skin side down, in an oven-proof baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.
Mix together the soy sauce, wine, sesame oil and lemon juice, plus the fish sauce and Gochujang (if using). Spoon the mixture over (and under) the fish. If you have time, cover the dish and refrigerate it for 2-4 hours.
Dice the kimchi and combine it with the mayonnaise. Refrigerate until ready to use.
When you are ready to cook the salmon, preheat the oven to 375°.
Roast the salmon, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes.
To serve, place each piece of fish on a serving plate, peeling the skin off as you go along. Top each serving with a sprinkling of sesame seeds (if using) and a healthy spoonful of the kimchi mayo. Pass the remaining kimchi mixture at the table.
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This is a somewhat tricky dish to pair successfully with wine. Color doesn’t much matter, but body and flavor do. We tried a crisp Pinot Grigio, which got completely lost in the pairing. By contrast, an oak-laden Chardonnay tasted solely of wood, the fruit having seemingly disappeared. With reds, notable tannins proved off-putting, as did overt sweetness (dooming the two Pinot Noirs we sampled). Look for wines, then, with medium-weight texture and full but not brawny flavors. Let the wine meet the dish halfway, and the match should be quite satisfactory.