One of our athletes asked for some recipe ideas! I’m going to start with a thread of three, one with fish, and a couple vegan/vegetarian that I like. I’ve got so many and some great ideas for making it easy so I’ll post more I just thought I’d get on this now so we keep the ball rolling!
These are quick meals too! First one requires some fancy spices but you can always substitute a favorite sauce.
Gochugaru Salmon With Crispy Rice
4 skin-on salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups cooked white rice, preferably leftovers
4 teaspoons gochugaru (see Tip)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, kept whole
Sliced cucumbers or pickles, for serving (optional)
Ingredient Substitution Guide
Season the salmon on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sear the salmon fillets skin side down until the skin is browned and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes. The salmon’s orange flesh will begin to turn pale coral as the heat slowly creeps up the sides of the fish; you want that coral color to come up about two-thirds of the way at this point for a nice medium-rare. Carefully flip the salmon and cook the second side until the flesh feels firm, another 1 to 2 minutes. When you press it, it should not feel wobbly. Transfer the salmon to a plate skin side down and keep the pan with the rendered fat over the heat.
Add the rice to the fat in the pan and spread in an even layer, packing it down as if making a rice pancake. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the bottom is lightly browned and toasted, about 5 minutes. You should hear it crackle. Flip the rice like a pancake, using a spatula if needed. You may not be able to flip it all in one piece, but that’s OK. Cook until lightly toasted on the second side, another 1 to 2 minutes. Go longer if you want crispier rice, but the trifecta of crispy-chewy-soft tastes wonderful.
While the rice is cooking, stir together the gochugaru, maple syrup, rice vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. When the rice is done, divide it evenly among the plates. In the now empty pan, add the gochugaru mixture and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until it bubbles up and reduces significantly, 15 seconds to 1 minute. It should look pretty sticky. Turn off the heat and add the cold butter, stirring with a wooden spoon or tongs until fully melted and incorporated into the gochugaru mixture. Pour this glaze over the salmon and serve with cucumbers or pickles if you’d like.
You can find gochugaru, or red-pepper powder, at Korean or Asian supermarkets and at most grocery stores, as well as online. It sometimes comes in larger bags, which is not a problem because it freezes beautifully and tastes great dusted over just about anything.
Kung Pao Cauliflower – Vegan (for more protein add tofu or tempeh or garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon black vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into small 2-inch-long florets
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
1 green or red bell pepper, core, seeds and membrane removed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ to 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, lightly ground in a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or crushed with a rolling pin
5 to 8 whole dried chiles, such as er jing tiao or chiles de arbol
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
? cup roasted peanuts
2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
Steamed rice, to serve
Ingredient Substitution Guide
In a small bowl, whisk together the dark soy sauce, soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar, vegetable stock or water, and cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat wok or large (12-inch) skillet on medium-high until very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, the cauliflower florets and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss for 1 minute. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, tossing the cauliflower every 1 1/2 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and charred in some parts. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same wok or skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of neutral oil, along with the bell pepper. Toss for 1 minute, then add the Sichuan peppercorns and whole dried chiles, and stir for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir for 30 seconds, then add the cauliflower back to the pan. Stir the sauce in the bowl to make sure the cornstarch is well incorporated, then pour it over the cauliflower and toss until the cauliflower is well coated. Toss in the peanuts and scallions, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Serve with rice.
Spinach, Tofu and Sesame Stir-Fry – Vegan
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ pound tofu, cut in small dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
Soy sauce to taste
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Ingredient Substitution Guide
Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or wok, and add the tofu. Stir-fry until the tofu is lightly colored, three to five minutes, and add the garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute, and add soy sauce to taste. Add the spinach and stir-fry until the spinach wilts, about one minute. Stir in the sesame seeds, and add more soy sauce to taste. Remove from the heat.
Using tongs, transfer the spinach and tofu mixture to a serving bowl, leaving the liquid behind in the pan or wok. Drizzle with the sesame oil, and add more soy sauce as desired. Serve with rice or other grains, or noodles. You may also use it as a filling for whole wheat pita bread.
Advance preparation: This is a last-minute preparation, but you can have your ingredients prepared well in advance.