Caribbean Salmon with Coconut Coleslaw

When I was in Vocational School for culinary arts, the chef used to try to test us by giving assignments that required us to create a recipe and cook it for everyone.  I was never particularly good at doing so, often only managing to pass with satisfactory, but never achieving outstanding.

Except for this one recipe: Caribbean Rubbed Salmon.

I’m not sure why I picked a fish recipe, I really don’t like fish as I’ve stated many times before.  I hate the way salmon smells when it’s cooked, and it tastes almost as bad. However this rub, seems to remove the “Fishy” smell and taste from salmon just enough so that I can enjoy it. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not about to go eat a whole salmon, I can barely get past a 1/4 kilo piece of it.

Why am I attempting to force fish down my throat? 3 reasons:

  • My wife loves fish
  • My Grandmother recently told me that I am eating way to much meat.
  • I do not want to be a parent who influences their children negatively about the foods I cannot stand, I want my children to grow up and willingly give everything an honest chance

So, on to our misenplace for the salmon:

Take a piece of salmon (hopefully you are greedy like me and choose a THICK piece) remove the skin and cut into 2 inch “steaks”.

In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of onion powder, allspice and thyme. stir until mixed. At school, we always ground this spice mixture in a coffee grinder to make it into a fine powder, however it’s not necessary.

Coleslaw Misenplace:

Shred one small white cabbage and place into a large steel bowl. Cut broccoli stems, carrots into matchsticks/julienne. (I will be posting instructions on various knife skills in the future just bear with me)

Pour boiled water into 1/4 cup of golden raisins to reconstitute them and mix them with the vegetables.

Open a coconut, break into pieces and remove the coconut meat. Rinse the pieces off and shred the coconut meat carefully and set aside. I used a box grater and it couldn’t distinguish a piece of coconut from my thumb. (Lesson learned there)

For the Coleslaw: 

Mix together 1 cup of Hellman’s Mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and low sodium soy sauce, and one pinch of kosher salt. Mix until combined. It will taste a bit soy sauce-y. However once you mix it with the veggies it mellows out, I was almost tempted to use more soy sauce, almost.

Roughly chop a handful of cilantro leaves and throw them in with the veggies. add the mayo to the veggies and mix until combined. If the mixture is too tight, add more mayonnaise or soy sauce/vinegar.


Taste for flavor, I fully intended to add a small dash of coconut extract to this, however I did not have any, so I just left it out. You can choose to do the same, it’s up to you.

Place in fridge until chilled.

For the Salmon:

In a large frying pan, heat your oil of choice until it ripples and begins to thin.

While waiting for the oil, place a piece of salmon into the Caribbean rub, and get down and dirty with it (put on some slow jams if you have to), I know, I know, it’s fishy smelling, but the reward is worth it. Rub, rub, rub and then shake any excess off spices.

Fry your salmon, being careful to lay it into the pan away from you, so that you do not get splashed with hot oil. We are trying to fry fish, not human.

Allow the fish to cook for about 5 minutes, then carefully, ever so carefully turn your salmon over and allow to fry for exactly 1 minute more. Remove to a rack and allow to cool, or serve immediately with the chilled coleslaw.

I can’t decide which picture I like more..

However, I am disappointed with my plating, I like it, it’s simple, which is my style, however the plate is dirty, I should have cleaned it, this would have been one of my favorite pictures..

Some notes:

  • If you are going to substitute another fish for salmon, make sure it’s a firm fleshed fish, halibut or something similar.
  • If you are expecting the coleslaw to taste like candy, you are wrong, it’s more of a fresh taste. However, adding coconut extract and using sweetened dried coconut may increase it’s candy appeal.
  • Please don’t leave out the soy sauce, it MAKES the coleslaw work.
  • You could use sour cream, or low fat whatever you want instead of Hellman’s mayo.
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