Last month I went to the Pacific Northwest and practiced my FLOSSing. It didn’t involve my teeth or a dentist. “Fresh Local Organic Sustainable Seasonal”-ing is a natural way of living in the rugged, luscious, green Pacific North West. The philosophy behind their regional cuisine evokes such simple, clean, natural flavors. In many ways, cooking with high quality Pacific Northwestern ingredients feels like dressing up a naturally beautiful tree-hugging lady. Just like too much make-up would mask her beautiful face, simplicity seems to work best to highlight the exceptional qualities and flavors of Pacific Northwest foods.
One of the key staples in Pacific Northwest is buttery, rich salmon. Salmon are born in fresh water and migrate to the ocean where they grow into adults. Then, they go back to their birthplaces to reproduce. The salmon’s circle of life – “creating a new life before death” – mirrors the Pacific Northwest’s sustainable way of living. Admiring their FLOSS philosophy, I’ve picked up some wild-caught salmon from the Pacific Northwest to marinate with my ancho chili olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tomato and green onions and then pan-fry them in my California kitchen. It came out so flavorful and juicy that my partner commented, “it’s better than what the King Estate Winery served at WBC 12 in Portland”. While those of you that were at the WBC dinner can actually compare it to the following recipe, everyone can try the following simply delicious North Western Style Salmon.
First, in a bowl, mix a ¼ cup of 7th taste ancho chili olive oil, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Then, peel 1 very ripe roma tomato and crush into fresh tomato juice in the bowl. Next, finely chop 2 stalks of green onion and add to the bowl. Whisk all ingredients of the marinade for a minute and let 1 lb salmon fillets soak in the marinade for 30 minutes. (you may flip them over once or twice to get the flavors infused to both sides of the salmon fillets) Next, preheat some 7th taste ancho chili olive oil on the grill pan and pan roast the salmon fillets until both sides turn crusty with nice grill marks. Before serving, sprinkle some chopped green onions & toasted sesame seeds and drizzle a bit of my ancho chili olive oil to keep it moist (serving 2-4).
The first bite of this salmon makes my mouth salivate for more. The marriage of the ancho chili olive oils‘ earthy sweetness, smokiness and butteriness with the balsamic vinegar’s thick syrupy sweetness and soft tanginess creates such a balanced structure for the marinade. Sweet, tart and smoky, the salmon is deliciously caramelized with complex layers of flavors. Every bite is so moist and rich, and the touch of toasted sesame seeds and green onions adds another great flavor dimensions to this mouth-watery salmon dish. Yum. FLOSS-driven foods aren’t just good for our ecosystems, but their naturally delicious flavors make it easy to create a fantastic dish with very little effort. Remember to FLOSS next time you go grocery shopping. Enjoy my recipe and happy cooking!