Asian Salmon with Polenta and Brussels Sprouts

The onset of spring has given me a craving for fresh foods. This meal was just that: fresh, light and a little bit sweet! Three of my favorite ingredients, salmon, polenta and Brussels sprouts came together very well and created a wonderful meal for the new season.  The salmon was prepared in an Asian style with flavors of soy sauce,  garlic, ginger, and sweet Teriyaki, perfectly sweet and spicy! The Brussels sprouts were tossed in a sweet maple glaze and roasted at a high temperature for a delicious crunchy texture. Lastly, I pan-fried polenta to balance out the overzealous flavors and provide a starch foundation for each tasty bite.

Salmon marinade and preparation:
Note: I rarely measure ingredients for marinades, I usually combine the various flavors I’m looking for and then adjust to taste…

  • fresh salmon fillets (about a half pound per person)
  • about 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar (to taste)
  • about 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (I use the Huy Fong brand, from the Asian foods aisle – careful, its spicy!)
  • a couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • splash of Worshire sauce

1) Put salmon skin side down in a shallow pan
2) Combine all ingredients and mix well, pour on salmon
3) Marinate for 2-3 hours
4) Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and heat to medium
5) Place salmon in the pan, skin side up and cook on medium. After about 4 minutes, flip sides and cook for another 4 minutes. I then added some Trader Joes Soyaki Sauce (my favorite because of its thicker consistency) and put the entire pan (make sure it doesn’t have a rubber handle!) in a pre-heated oven to bake at 350 degrees for another 15 minutes or so – varies depending how thick your salmon is.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

  • fresh Brussels sprouts
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 splash of balsamic vinegar

1) Pre-heat oven to 375
2) Slice Brussels sprouts in half and wash thoroughly
3) Toss sprouts in maple glaze and spread onto a greased baking pan and bake, stirring often to prevent burning (even when you do this the single layers will burn a little, I don’t mind this, but you can eat around them if you do).
5) Roast until they are caramelized and fork tender, about 30 minutes

Pan-Fried Polenta:

Polenta is made from ground corn meal that is boiled for a long time… it is quite labor intensive to prepare because it requires constant stirring. Polenta makes an excellent base to add additional flavors too, think of it like risotto; it pairs well with cheese, spices and herbs, vegetables, and even meat- I once had an amazing sausage polenta in Spain!

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to stand in my kitchen stirring polenta, so I buy it pre-cooked at the grocery store. I recommend San Gennaro polenta which comes in a sausage-like tube. There are endless ways to prepare and serve it, but I prepared mine like so:

1) Heat a small amount of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat
2) Open polenta and slice into 1/2 inch slices and add to pan, fry on each side until lightly toasted brown – polenta has a lot moisture so it might take a few minutes (it is already cooked, so you are just adding heat and creating texture). I left it unseasoned – besides s&p of course – since I had such flavorful accompaniments on the plate.

San Gennaro also sells flavored polenta, basil garlic, sun-dried tomato etc., but I prefer original and flavoring it myself! If you have not cooked with polenta I suggest you try it – its a wonderful alternative to pasta, rice and potatoes!

nutritionally speaking:
excellent source of omega 3!!
Vitamins  A, B6, B12, C, K, niacin, thiamin, iron,  protein, folate and dietary fiber. 

Lastly, I paired this dish with a delicious wine, Gnarly Head‘s Old Vine Zin, vintage 2009. This medium-bodied wine had zesty flavors of plum, cherry, pepper and a hint of spice. The toasted spicy flavor paired well with the salmon and Brussels sprouts because of their spicy/sweet flavors and BBQ-like taste and texture. Slightly chilled this wine would be perfect with cheese and crackers or at a BBQ  this summer!


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