Monday, September 25, 2006

Sparerib Salmon

Yesterday there was an article in the New York Times Magazine about Chinese-American barbecued spareribs. The piece noted the emphasis on American and reprinted a recipe from the early '60s that highlighted that point -- you'd never find these things in China. Inspired by the original version, which by the 21st century seemed to have more kitsch appeal than anything else, David Myers, chef at Sona in L.A., offered an adaptation featuring salmon. It was so easy, and he sounded so excited about it, that, though I had never heard of Sona, I trusted him instantly and had to give it a whirl. I had everything I needed but the salmon.

All you do is marinate salmon in equal parts soy sauce and honey, plus a little ketchup and some crushed garlic, and then you grill or broil it. I instinctively cut back just a bit on the honey, but otherwise I followed Myers's instructions, including making a cucumber salad side dish. I skipped a topping of preserved ginger, though... next time. I had to briefly boil the vinegar-based salad dressing, which stunk up the place for a while ("You dyeing Easter eggs?" Margy asked as she walked into the kitchen), but no big deal.

The salmon, which I grilled, was wonderful. The honey produced a gorgeous glaze, and the strong salty-sweet flavors of the marinade worked perfectly against the richness of the salmon. The cucumber salad was fragrant with ginger and subtly spicy due to a hit of Japanese togarashi pepper, and it made a great sharp-edged accompaniment to the luscious fish.

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