Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The Times had a funny story yesterday about "teriyaki" in Seattle, a term that city uses to describe pretty much any food including those of Thai, Somali and Vietnamese origin as well as a horrifying-sounding corn dog drizzled in teriyaki sauce.

The Washington State Restaurant Association has identified 83 Seattle restaurants with teriyaki in their name, including I Love Teriyaki and I Luv Teriyaki. In Seattle, teriyaki is shorthand for a range of dishes, from teriyaki burgers, piled with chopped beef, to pineapple teriyaki, platters of chicken paved with canned pineapple.

Coincidentally, I made teriyaki for dinner last night, loosely following a salmon recipe from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook Cooking for Two, given to us for our wedding by our friends Kate and Tim. I have tried a number of other versions, but this was probably the best teriyaki I ever made, boosted by the delicious accompaniment of cabbage and shitake mushrooms.

1. Mince 2 scallions, 3 cloves of garlic and small piece of ginger. Combine these in a small bowl with a teaspoon of sesame oil. Whisk together 1/4 c. soy sauce, 1/4 c. sugar, 1 T mirin, 1 tsp. cornstarch and 1 tsp. sesame oil in a second small bowl.

2. Slice half a head of bok choy and some shitake mushrooms. Heat 1 T. vegetable oil over medium high in a large skillet. When oil is hot, saute the mushrooms for 2 minutes, then add the bok choy for another couple minutes until it wilts.

3. Push the vegetables aside to make a hole in the center of the skillet. Pour the scallion mixture in the well and mash it into the bottom of the skillet for a minute until fragrant, then stir the scallions etc. into the boy choy and mushrooms. Pour the vegetables off into two serving dishes.

4. Return the skillet to medium high heat with another T. vegetable oil. Sear 2 8 oz. salmon fillets skin side up (or skinned side up if yours are skinless) for 5 minutes. Flip them over and cook another 2-5 minutes depending on thickness and preference. Transfer them from the skillet onto the beds of vegetables.

5. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel and add the soy sauce mixture. Cook for 2 minutes until it thickens into a glaze, then pour over the salmon.

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