The Grinch Who Stole Family Dinner

November 30, 2007


Last night was Family Dinner. My sister was coming over for the evening to not only dine but to help us trim our Christmas tree (which is fake–point of contention–and on it’s very last leg, after moving from DC to Chicago and then again across Chicago) and otherwise decorate our place for the holidays (or Chrismakkah, as this “blended household” likes to call it).


What was on the menu, you ask? One might guess I had planned a festive meal—something pure holidays or perhaps just seasonal. Something that fit the holiday color scheme at the very least (but that’s probably a little too “semi-homemade” for my taste; what’s next? a tablescape & a cocktail?). But, because I am the Grinch, I eschewed these thoughts and instead opted for one of my favorite summer meals–an Asian pan seared/oven roasted salmon recipe. You see, I’m on a mission to make my sister a salmon fan. Yes, I repeat, I’m the Grinch. She comes over once a week and I made her a dinner featuring a protein about which she’s on the fence.


I also chose this recipe because it’s insanely quick and easy—perfect for this evening, because I didn’t want to miss too much of the tree trimming. I also was pretty sure it would win my sister over. The flavors in the glaze are some of her favorites. The same tactic (smother a potentially un-popular item in ingredients sure to please) worked with my husband when he began to eat more fish.


Operation Make-a-Salmon-Fan-out-of-Ali was a success. She cleaned her plate (which also included steamed edamame, tossed with sesame oil, black sesame seeds and chili flakes, and brown rice). And our place looks gorgeous, decked out with a tree (fake), menorah (a little too early, I know, but it’s all in the same box), garland and wreath. In retrospect, maybe I should’ve at least served some egg nog or glogg …. no, no, no. Who am I kidding? The wine was just fine.

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Ginger-Soy Glaze
Food & Wine

¼ c. soy sauce
1 tsp. finely grated ginger
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 skinless salmon fillets (4 to 6 oz. apiece)
freshly ground pepper
cilantro leaves, for garnish*


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce and ginger and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the honey and mustard.**

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet. Season the salmon with pepper and add it to the skillet, skinned side up. Cook over high heat until golden and crusty, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the salmon and spoon the ginger soy glaze on top. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the salmon for 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the salmon fillets to plates, garnish with cilantro and serve.

* I also like to garnish with a lime wedge, a fresh squeeze of which livens the dish.

** One of the first times I made this recipe, I accidentally combined the soy sauce, ginger, honey and mustard at the same time (before heating it). It was a fortuitous mistake, because I prefer the consistency of the glaze this way (thicker/more body). But both methods work perfectly well.

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