Monday, Memorial Day, I scheduled myself to produce some photography assignments for Don Giannetti’s Project 52 Pro workshop. I needed a hand model for one of the assignments, so I teamed up with my photography partner and close friend, Brady Wolf of Brady Wolf Photography and Gray Wolf Construction. Since I don’t get to cook for people very often, I cooked and photographed the meal in Brady’s lovely kitchen at his house.
The first assignment theme was “Expressed by Hand”. It’s my mission this year to photograph as many assignments as possible involving food, so my idea was to photograph hands cutting some vegetables. Making food from scratch is as much a craft as knitting or sculpture.
The second assignment theme was “Ingredients for a local recipe for an inflight magazine”. I chose to make a recipe from Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen (Tom Douglas with Denis Kelly, Shelley Lance, and Duskie Estes; 2001, William Morrow - available at Amazon via the link on the right → ). Tom Douglas is a local Seattle “celebrity” chef, and he makes some darn fine food at his several restaurant ventures around town. “Sake-Steamed Sockeye Salmon with Sake Butter” sounded wonderful for the beginning of summer. I paired the Copper River Sockeye with some Japanese rice and sauteed asparagus. The rice was cooked with a cheesecloth packet of the same flavors in the Steamed Salmon.
We also goofed around and shot some of the ingredients and cooking processes.
Oh, and we ate the salmon for dinner when we were finished. It was very good. Steaming the fish is not something I’ve done before, and I highly recommend it. It’s simple and and the fish is moist and flavorful.
Thanks again to Brady for his assistance and the use of his kitchen. Be sure to check out his photography and contracting work!
Here’s the recipe: Enjoy dinner!
Sake-Steamed Sockeye Salmon with Sake Butter
Sake-Steamed Sockeye Salmon
- 1 stalk lemongrass, split lengthwise
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sake
- 10 fresh ginger coins, sliced ⅓ inch thick
- 2 star anise pods
- Peel of 1 orange
- 1 ½ pounds salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
- Sake Butter
- 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Bruise the lemongrass with the back of a knife to help release the aromatics. Set up your steamer: a large saucepan with a Chinese bamboo steamer set over it works great. Place the lemon grass, water, sake ginger star anise, and orange peel in the bottom of the steamer. Bring to a boil. Lay the salmon fillets in the steamer basket and cover with the steamer lid. Steam until the salmon is just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons peeled and julienned fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon quality sake
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into large dice
- ½ teaspoon fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, sweat the ginger and shallots in the 1 tablespoon butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Add ½ cup sake, 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. Add the pieces of cold butter to the sauce, bit by bit, whisking constantly over medium-high heat. Once all the butter has been incorporated, remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the remaining 1 teaspoon sake and the lime juice. Season to taste with salt.
Place a salmon fillet on a plate. Spoon some sake butter over each portion of fish. Garnish with a lime wedge.