I came across this beautiful piece of salmon after picking up some tender young bok choy at the farmer’s market and was feelin’ that I wanted a little Asian flavor for dinner. Not so heavy that it would detract from the flavor of the fish (okay, so it’s not easy to overpower salmon), however I wanted wanted a fairly light tamari or soy sauce based Asian marinade. I have a few go-to Asian marinades and this one stems from time I spent working on a Chinese cooking show. I simply diluted it a bit with water (yes, you can do that) to lighten it up a bit.
It’s been pretty hot here in Los Angeles and I really didn’t want to light the stove and heat the house just to steam the bok choy. Instead I thought I would try to marinate and grill the it since I made was more than enough marinade for the fish. The thing about grilling the bok choy is that the stalks are going to cook a lot slower than the leaves. So not to risk burning the leaves, I wrapped them in foil for most of the cooking time and then unwrapped them during the last few minutes to crisp them up a bit. So good!
The marinating and cooking time are about the same for the fish and the bok choy. You could start the fish and then when you flip it, start the bok choy. Or if you’re feeling up to your A-game, grill them side by side. Just be sure to have a long thin spatula for the fish and tongs for the bok choy at the ready!
Asian Flavors: Grilled Salmon and Bok Choy
makes 4 to 6 servings
For the marinade:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 Fresno chile, chopped (I included the seed for some heat)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup less-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for grilling
One 1-1/2 to 2 pound piece center-cut salmon, skin on
6 to 10 baby bok choy (depending on size), cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (ground Szechuan peppercorns would be awesome here!)
Direct heat grilling
Stir together the marinade ingredients through the brown sugar. Combine the oils and slowly drizzle in to the soy mixture while whisking to emulsify. Remove any pin bones from the salmon and place in a baking dish just large enough to hold or into a resealable plastic bag. Place the halved bok choy into a separate bag or bowl. Divide the marinade between the salmon and the bok choy and be sure that everything is coated well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush and oil the grate before cooking. Remove salmon from marinade and blot with paper towels. Take a little vegetable oil in your hands and lightly rub the salmon; season with salt and pepper; set aside. Remove bok choy from the marinade, shake off any excess marinade and blot dry. Place vegetables on a baking tray and lightly drizzle with a little vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Wrap the leave of the bok choy in foil.
The salmon and the bok choy will take about the same amount of time to cook:
⇒Place fish on the grill (flesh-side down) at a 45° angle to the grates and lay the bok choy cut-side down off to the side. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes then use a SPATULA to flip. Cook for another 5 minutes or so. The salmon is done when it is still moist, flake with a fork and has just turned opaque at the center.
⇒Place the bok choy cut side down on the grill and cook for 5 minutes until well-marked. Flip using tong and cook for another 5 minutes or so or until the the stalks can easily be pierced with a sharp knife. Remove the foil during the last two to 3 minutes so the can get crispy.
Remove salmon and bok choy from the grill. Peel the skin off the salmon and cut into serving portions. Serve hot or on a buffet table at room temperature.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!