BAKED SIDE OF SALMON WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE (for six to eight)
one 2-1/2 to 3 pound side of salmon
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons peanut oil
6 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
8 scallions, sliced thin
4 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons lemon peel, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with 5 or 6 tablespoons chicken broth and stir until smooth. Add the remaining broth, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar.
- Heat the peanut oil in a skillet or wok, then add the beans, 4 cloves of garlic and half the sliced scallions and stir fry 1 minute. Add the chicken broth mixture and simmer gently until it thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead at kept, covered and chilled. Reheat before proceeding).
- Rinse the salmon under cold tap water and pat dry with paper towels. (Place salmon, skin side down, over a large up-turned mixing bowl and, using tweasers, remove any small bones that protrude.)
- Lightly oil a deep, broiler-proof, oven-to-table platter and place the salmon, skin side down, on top. (Once cooked, a side of salmon is difficult to move intact. It is much easier to serve the fish in the dish you bake it in. Your dish needs to be oven-proof, large enough to accommodate the fish, deep enough to hold a sauce and attractive enough to use of the table. It also has to fit into your oven…)
- Combine the sesame oil, lemon peel, ginger and remaining 2 cloves garlic. Spread mixture over both sides of salmon and marinate 20 minutes at room temperature. Pre-heat the broiler (Turn it on at least 10 minutes before you intend to use it.) Broil salmon, 4 inches from the flame, for 6 to 8 minutes, rotating the pan occasionally, until the fillet is evenly browned. Reduce oven temperature to 450* and bake salmon in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until it is just cooked through. It should be opaque, springy to the touch and just starting to flake. (The baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the salmon, but 10 minutes per inch of thickness is the usual rule.)
- Serve spread with warm black bean sauce and garnished with the remaining scallion and coriander.
NOTE: For a larger crowd, use 2 fillets and double the recipe. Broil the fillets one at a time if the broiler is small. They can then be baked together for the same time period.
adapted from the New York Times, June 14, 1998
FERMENTED BLACK BEANS