Sake-Steamed Salmon, Aromatic Rice & Baby Bok Choy


Saké-Steamed Salmon  |  Saké Butter  |  Aromatic Brown Rice  | Steamed Baby Bok Choy

Intro 3 Collage

So, as you can see, I am enjoying my new bamboo steamer!  I used it for the first time on Sunday for steaming a medley of vegetables and, in addition to it being so very easy {preparing a variety of vegetables with different cooking times}, all of the vegetables were cooked perfectly.  This evening I graduated to steaming salmon {bottom tray} with baby bok choy {top tray} over a simmering skillet of aromatic water.  Both fish and vegetable were finished in under 10 minutes!  The Saké Butter comes together in under 10 minutes as well, so it is easily made while the salmon and bok choy steam.  We all agreed…the butter really made this dish.

The aromatics {lemongrass, ginger, star anise & orange zest}  were carried through to the rice simply by wrapping these ingredients in a piece of cheesecloth, securing with some kitchen string and adding to the pot of simmering rice.  The flavor infusion was subtle but enough to complement the taste of the other foods on the dinner plate.  I look forward to flavoring rice this way, experimenting with other herbs such as rosemary, garlic, thyme, oregano & mint.

This dinner, in it’s entirety, comes together in 35-40 minutes {the time it takes for the brown rice to cook}.  The salmon, bok choy & butter all cook in about 10 minutes so they are easily prepared while the rice cooks, making this an easy weeknight meal.

Aromatic Brown Rice  {adapted from Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen, by Tom Douglas with Denis Kelly, Shelley Lance & Duskie Estes}

  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 2½ cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 3 slices unpeeled fresh ginger coins*, about ¼-inch thick
  • 3 whole star anise
  • Zest from one orange {large strips cut with a vegetable peeler}

* {“Ginger coins add a subtle flavor to a dish whereas peeled and grated ginger will add a more potent flavor.  Peel the fresh ginger and cut it crosswise into round slices about ¼-inch thick, or thinner.  If you are using the coins in a marinade or in a dish that is going to be strained, you don’t need to peel the ginger ” ~  Tom Douglas}

  1. Bruise the stalk of lemongrass using the flat side of a meat pounder to release the aromatics and then slice it thinly.  Wrap the lemongrass, ginger, star anise and orange zest in a piece of cheesecloth and tie up the bundle with some kitchen string.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium pot combine the rice, water, butter and salt.  Bring to a boil, add the cheesecloth bundle to the pot of rice, reduce heat and cover the pot with a lid.  Simmer for 35-45 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. Remove the cheesecloth bundle, fluff rice with a fork and serve hot.

Spice Bundle Collage

We really enjoy the taste of baby bok choy, frequently adding it to stir-frys, but rarely eat it on its own.  Tonight, this vegetable is simply steamed over the salmon and the simmering pan of aromatic water.  The finished bok choy was incredibly tender with the subtle flavoring of orange and ginger.

It’s preparation is very simple…click here for a video below which shows how to get the bok choy ready for steaming.

 Once the bok choy has been cleaned and sliced, place into one of the steamer baskets and set aside…


Saké-Steamed Salmon {adapted from Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen, by Tom Douglas with Denis Kelly, Shelley Lance & Duskie Estes}

  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1½ cups saké
  • 10 fresh, unpeeled ginger coins
  • 2 star anise pods
  • Peel of 1 orange
  • 1½ pounds salmon filet, cut into 4 portions
  • Saké Butter {recipe follows}
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Bruise the stalk of lemongrass using the flat side of a meat pounder to release the aromatics.
  2. Set up your steamer:  I used a large braising skillet that can accommodate my bamboo steamer.  Place the lemongrass, water, saké, ginger star anise and orange peel in the bottom of the steamer {skillet}.  Bring to a boil.  Place the salmon filets in the first tray of the steamer basket and set the tray into the skillet over the simmering water.  Then, set the tray filled with the bok choy over the tray of salmon.  Cover with the steamer lid and steam until the salmon is just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. {This should also be enough time to cook the bok choy to tender.  If the vegetable is not quite finished, simply remove the salmon basket, set aside and set the basket of bok choy, covered, directly over the simmering water…use potholders & caution as the baskets get hot}.
  3. Remove the steamer baskets from the skillet and place a salmon filet {or a portion thereof} on each plate.  Drizzle some of the Saké Butter {recipe follows} over each portion of fish and garnish with a lime wedge.  Serve with some of the bok choy and brown rice.

Salmon Collage

Assemble the steamer ~ the skillet with aromatics and the water…


Bring to a boil & then add the basket tray of salmon filets…


And then the vegetable tray…


Cover & steam…

While the fish and vegetable steam, prepare the Saké Butter…

Saké Butter {adapted from Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen, by Tom Douglas with Denis Kelly, Shelley Lance & Duskie Estes}

  • 2 tablespoons peeled and julienned ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon quality saké {I used Momokawa}
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ½ cup {1 stick} cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • Lime Salt to taste {can substitute sea salt}
  1. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, sauté the ginger and shallots in the 1 tablespoon of butter for 2 minutes.  Add ½ cup of the saké, bring to a boil and reduce by two-thirds, about 3 minutes.  Add the heavy cream, bring to a boil, and reduce by half, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the pieces of cold butter to the sauce, bit by bit, whisking constantly.  the butter will emulsify creating a thick, creamy sauce.
  3. Once all the butter has been incorporated, remove the pan from the heat.  Whisk in the remaining 1 teaspoon of saké and the lime juice.  Season to taste with some of the Lime Salt.

And the finished dinner plate…


And with that I am off for the weekend!  I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Memorial Day Holiday & I will be back posting on Tuesday morning…



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