So, time for a post not involving cheese or chocolate! The original idea here was to recreate a salad that I had at a Thai restaurant in Hong Kong when we lived there this fall (yes, you can be sure that there will be attempts at Chinese cooking here in the future). The restaurant, Thai Basil, had these incredibly tasty, but very spicy, salads involving green mango or papaya, cucumber, a few thinly julienned carrots, fresh herbs (I think one of them was mint which was kind of surprising in Thai food but worked really well), chopped chilies, maybe some peanuts, and dressing. The salad was then topped with pan seared tuna or salmon.
When I found a recipe for blackened salmon at another food blog, I decided to combine the two recipes and make a Thai Basil inpired salad to serve with the salmon. The original recipe called for a strawberry-feta cheese salad to be served with the salmon, which I am sure would be totally tasty, but it ain't happening in Sweden in January...
When I started to make the spice rub for the salmon, I realized that I didn't have many of the called for ingredients at hand (a lot of our stuff is still in boxes after living abroad) so I had to improvise with what I had. And for the salad, well, it bore no resemblance at all to the Thai Basil salads (I didn't even use dressing since the one I made got too oily and we had no more limes and I couldn't find the white wine vinegar). But the whole shebang became incredibly tasty - the salmon was extremely juicy and "buttery" and the flavors worked very well together. And it's also healthy: salmon contains good fat, it was fried without any fat or oil what so ever, the salad was served without dressing, and there was no carbs at all (okey, besides the sugar in the rub). It also looked very nice and hey, did I mention how good it was?!
Blackened salmon with mango-cucumber salad
2 pieces of salmon fillet
For the rub:
2 tbsp raw demerara sugar (or muscovado)
1 tbsp flaky sea salt
1½ tsp ground ginger (not fresh this time)
1 tsp chili powder (I used ancho chili, since that was all I had)
Ground the ingredients for the rub together in a pestle, and rub it into both sides of the salmon. Fry in a dry pan on quite high heat until the salmon is just cooked through and the rub has blackened.
For the salad: Cut 1 mango and 1 small cucumber in thin slices. I also added some sunflower sprouts. I'm sure a bit of julienned carrot would work as well (but not too much). As I said, no dressing here, but I started experimenting with lime, a few drops of fish sauce and some rape seed oil, and it was promising before I splashed too much oil into it and couldn't find anything sour to balance it with.