How to make Myers + Chang’s pan-roasted soy-glazed salmon with cool cucumber salad

Pan-Roasted Soy-Glazed Salmon with Cool Cucumber Salad (c) Kristen Teig
Pan-roasted soy-glazed salmon with cool cucumber salad from 'Myers + Chang at Home.' –Kristen Teig

In Myers + Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery, Myers + Chang chef and co-owner Joanne Chang and executive chef and partner Karen Akunowicz teach home cooks how to make the South End hotspot’s dishes in their own kitchens. Check out one of the recipes below, and hear more about the book, straight from Chang herself, here.  

You could say this is the recipe that started it all. When [my husband,] Christopher [Myers,] and I were dating, I would cook dinner for him and make him dishes that I grew up eating. There were a lot of stir-fries in our dating phase (there still are) and a few simple pan-roasted dishes. Christopher was used to Americanized Chinese food, which has a lot of sweet and fried and saucy. The meal I made that he loved most was salmon with soy, ginger, sriracha, sugar, and vinegar, served with a bowl of steaming white rice and some wokked vegetables. I made it at least once a week. This is the dish that made us both look at each other and say, “We should open a Chinese restaurant together.” It’s still my favorite dish we make, and we still eat it at least once a week.

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Serves 4

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola
Four 5-ounce skin-on salmon fillets
4 scallions, cut into thirds
1 recipe Salmon Sauce (recipe follows)
One 1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (about 1/4 bunch)
Perfect White Rice (recipe follows) or Perfect Brown Rice (recipe follows)
1 recipe Crispy Shallots (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit and place a rack in the center of the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper and stir together. Add the cucumbers to the bowl to marinate in the dressing. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy, flat-bottomed oven safe skillet on the stove over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable oil, tilting the pan to cover the bottom evenly with the oil, and heat until it is almost smoking. Pat the salmon skin dry with a paper towel. Season both sides of the salmon fillets with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining ½ teaspoon black pepper and carefully add to the skillet skin-side down. Cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes, pushing down slightly on the salmon with a spatula to get exceptionally crispy skin (that’s the good stuff). Use a thin spatula to carefully flip the salmon fillets over. Add the Salmon Sauce to the skillet and sprinkle the scallions and sliced ginger over the fish and sauce. Transfer to the oven and bake for 4 to 5 minutes, until the salmon is cooked to medium.

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Divide the rice among four shallow serving bowls and place 1 piece of salmon on top of each mound of rice, skin-side up. Spoon any remaining sauce, scallions, and ginger evenly onto the salmon and rice. Add the cilantro to the marinating cucumbers and garnish the salmon and the dressed cucumbers and the shallots. Serve immediately.

Salmon Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
One 2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sriracha

In a small pot, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger, sriracha, and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and set aside. The Salmon Sauce can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Perfect White Rice

If you don’t have a rice cooker, cooking rice on the stovetop couldn’t be easier. Rinse the rice a few times before cooking to remove any excess starch (which could make your rice too sticky), and make sure you let it sit and absorb the last of the water so that it comes out fluffy and perfect. There is nothing quite as comforting as a pot of rice cooking on the stove. It’s my favorite smell in the world.

Makes 3 cups

1 cup medium-grain white rice

Wash the rice by submerging it in 1 quart water, stirring it with your hands, and draining well. Repeat twice more. When the rice is submerged and mixed with your hands the first time, the water turns so cloudy you can’t see the rice anymore. The second time, the water clouds a little less, and by the third time, the water is still cloudy but you can see the rice. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and 2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir the rice with a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the rice starts to absorb the water, about 4 minutes. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring the rice from time to time. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the rice sit for about 15 minutes to absorb the last of the water. Fluff with a fork. Cover tightly until ready to serve.

Perfect Brown Rice

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Making brown rice is the same as making white rice, except that it takes a touch more water and steams for a lot longer. As with all rice, you may need to add more water depending on the age of your rice.

Makes 3 cups

1 cup medium-grain brown rice

Wash the rice by submerging it in 1 quart water, stirring it with your hands, and draining well. Repeat twice more. When the rice is submerged and mixed with your hands the first time, the water turns so cloudy you can’t see the rice anymore. The second time, the water clouds a little less, and by the third time, the water is still cloudy but you can see the rice. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and 2 ¼ cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir the rice with a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the rice starts to absorb the water, about 4 minutes. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring the rice from time to time. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the rice sit for about 15 minutes to absorb the last of the water. Fluff with a fork. Cover tightly until ready to serve.

Crispy Shallots

These are hard not to snack on or put on top of pretty much everything. You sometimes find crispy shallots sold in prepackaged bags at the Asian grocery. Don’t take that shortcut. They don’t hold a candle to these.

Makes about ¼ cup

4 medium shallots
2 cups vegetable oil, such as canola, for frying
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Thinly slice the shallots on a mandoline or with a very sharp knife; they must be super-duper thin and as evenly sliced as possible. In a small saucepan, stir together the shallots and the oil and place over medium heat. Stir the shallots until the oil barely starts to simmer, then cook until the shallots turn golden brown, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel–lined plate. It will take 15 to 18 minutes total from cold oil to finished. Dust the shallots with the salt and let cool. The Crispy Shallots can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

 

Pan-Roasted Soy-Glazed Salmon with Cool Cucumber Salad from Myers + Chang at Home. Copyright © 2017 by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Perfect White Rice from Myers + Chang at Home. Copyright © 2017 by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Perfect Brown Rice from Myers + Chang at Home. Copyright © 2017 by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Crispy Shallots from Myers + Chang at Home. Copyright © 2017 by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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