So lockdown is slowly being eased around the world, the livers have been overworked, and many of us have gone up a notch on the old belt!! This Asian salmon & nam prik recipe is one we are eating at home weekly now to counteract all the food and drink we gorged on over the last few months. Fresh, packed with flavour and a really healthy number too. Who said healthy food had to be boiled or taste like cardboard!!
NAM PRIK PLA
Also known as nam pla prik, prik nam pla, it is an Asian dipping sauce that is essential in Thai cuisine. My version has a little twist with the addition of coriander (cause I can't get enough of the stuff), but this is defo optional. It consists of fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, red chili, and sugar. What is so GREAT about Asian cuisine is their ability to balance flavours perfectly. This sauce is spicy, sweet, salty, and acidic all in one. It takes about 5 minutes to make (quicker if you use a blender) and works AMAZINGLY drizzled over this crispy salmon and beansprout salad. Try it with grilled chicken or even some pork too. Trust me when I say it's a great one to have up your sleeve. Heck, we even drizzled it over steak #winning
CAN I MAKE NAM PRIK PLA IN ADVANCE?
Sure can. In fact, if you like the dish/recipe and want to make it on the regular, it'll last up to 2 weeks in the fridge WITHOUT the coriander. Whip up a double batch because trust me, you will want to add this to your meal plan again later in the week! Who says you can't eat Asian salmon w/ nam prik dressing and beansprout salad a couple times a week?
When the pants are getting tight, this salad is the perfect one to call upon. Works with fish, meat, or even on its own, there is more flavour than you can imagine. Truthfully, several ingredients go into making it, and you don't want to skimp on any of them. BUT, on a plus note, many of them are pantry staples or can quickly become pantry staples as they have a great shelf life. You literally just have to chop a couple ingredients and toss them all together, no dressing required as the nam prik pla does all that work for you!
The recipe (see below) calls for crispy shallots. These guys are readily available in most supermarkets but if you feel like making them yourself check out my recipe HERE for crispy shallots - so good 😉
Salmon is an oily fish rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids. It's readily available, although the numbers of wild salmon have decreased considerably, so a lot of what you see/get is farmed salmon these days. I get mine from the Fresh Fish Co here in Brisbane and their Tasmanian Atlantic salmon is the business!
I used to be from the school of thought of cooking salmon all the way through to the point of no return. You know that dry assed piece of salmon you used to be served with the necessary BUCKET of cream sauce to moisten (read hide the dryness) it up a little? Yep, that ship has sailed! There is no reason in the world that should be happening. When I moved to NYC, I worked in a Michelin starred restaurant, and the salmon was cooked medium-rare. At first, I was like WTF medium-rare salmon?? But, once I tasted it, my mind was blown!
HOW TO COOK SALMON TO PERFECTION 😉
So the key is, season the salmon generously and using a good non-stick pan heat the oil on medium to high heat. Place salmon skin-side down (or where the skin once was!) and press down on it for a good 10-15 seconds so that the skin hits the heat evenly. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on one side until you see the side of the salmon change colour up to the midway point. Flip it, cook for a minute, and then pop it in the oven for 3-4 minutes @ 180c. Allow to rest (as you would a steak) for 3-4 minutes before serving. If you like your salmon cooked a little more, then pop it in the oven for a further 2 minutes.
Bare in mind that times will vary depending upon the thickness of salmon, i.e., a tailpiece will cook WAY quicker! Follow these simple instructions and trust me, your Asian salmon & nam prik dinner will be epic!
WHAT OTHER FISH CAN I USE
TONS is the answer. This recipe works with most fish. Monkfish, tuna, cod, hake, emperor, snapper this list goes on, in fact, it's probably more like what fish CAN'T you eat with this dish..... jellyfish, that's defo a fish I would avoid. Maybe blowfish too 😉 Honestly, it's such a versatile recipe that pretty much any fish will work!
WHAT WINE PAIRS WITH ASIAN SALMON & NAM PRIK
Riesling would be my first choice for this, and winedirect.com.au came through with an absolute CRACKER! Patrick of Coonawarra 2012 aged riesling, this has to be one of the best rieslings I've tasted in a while. What's even better is the fact that it's released as an aged riesling. I'm a big fan of riesling, both young and old. I tend to drink younger ones as the wife prefers them. Also because to find a riesling in a shop that has a few years on it usually costs you an arm and a leg. This riesling has explicitly been held back for 5 years before released, and while it was drinking great, then I can tell you it's phenomenal now.
95pts from Mr.Halliday is no mean feat, and I 100% concur with his rating. It's got that lovely (dare I say it) kerosene taste but loads of lemony butter flavours too. It's both rich and delicate at the same time with some lovely biscuity/toasty notes and an excellent crisp finish. As mentioned, the nam prik offers loads of sweet, salty, and acidic notes, so this wine can keep them all at bay without taking over your palate either. So, my advice is to grab yourself a few bottles and whip up this Asian salmon & nam prik and bask in the glory of a simple recipe and delicious wine.
OTHER SALMON RECIPES
Gin & Beet Cured Salmon by Yours Truly
Smoked Salmon Quiche by Sylvie Gruber of 'A Baking Journey'
Smoked Salmon Spaghetti by Adrianne Jamieson of 'Sweet Caramel Sunday'
Teriyaki Salmon Toast by Yours Truly
Honey Soy Salmon & Veggie Stirfry by Kylie Archer of 'Kidgredients'
Blackened Salmon Tacos by Yours Truly
Smoked Salmon Wreath by Alexandra Cook of 'It's Not Complicated Recipes'
Easy Smoked Salmon Pate by Robyn Jones of 'Mrs Jones Kitchen'
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!
- 2 170g salmon fillets
- 100 g beansprouts
- 1 red chili sliced finely
- 1 spring onion sliced finely at an angle
- 4 snow peas sliced finely lengthways
- 1 handful coriander
- 1 handful mint
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp peanuts chopped
- 1 tbsp crispy shallots
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tsp palm sugar
- 1 red chili finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 thumbsized piece ginger grated
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp coriander finely chopped
- Mix all ingredients together and set aside until ready
- Season the salmon with salt and rub in olive oil. Heat oven to 180c
- In a ovenproof frying pan cook the salmon on medium/high heat for 3-4 minutes, flip and cook for a further minute before placing in the oven for 3 -4 minutes *see tips*
- Mix all the ingredients together and set aside
- Place salad on one side of the plate with salmon next to it. Drizzle the nam prik sauce over salad and salmon!
- frying pan
- chef knives
- chopping board
- measuring utensils
- fish cooking times will vary depending upon thickness. The best way to cook fish is when frying it watch for the colour to change along the side. Once ½ of the fish turns from bright pink to a more grey/pink colour flip the fish, cook for a minute, and pop in the oven.
- if the fish is very thin ie. A tailpiece you can most likely omit the oven cooking time as it will cook quicker
• If using skin-on salmon ALWAYS cook with skin side down first
• Allow the salmon to rest for a minute or 2 before serving – the same principle as when cooking meat.