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Salmon with Chinese Pesto

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Salmon with Chinese Pesto is one of those awesome Asian fusion recipes. It is perfect for entertaining but easy enough to qualify for an everyday dinner. I’m not sure why but I always seem to make this dish in the spring.

The Chinese pesto sauce is easy and can be served on plain steamed, baked or grilled salmon. The recipe suggests marinating the salmon for about thirty minutes…manageable in my mind but not essential for everyday.

To create a Gourmet Dinner Club menu I would serve an impressive salad of Garden Greens with Asian Dressing and Crispy Bean Thread Noodles before the main course. Followed by this Salmon with Chinese Pesto with a nice vegetable and a special rice dish. Using a main course dish I have made a few times and know will be successful allows me the extra time to focus on the side dishes. Add Coconut Ice Cream with fresh mango for dessert and you have a very nice Asian Fusion menu.

An Asian Pantry

Do you only cook with the same old staples from your pantry? Do you pass over a recipe as soon as there is an ingredient you don’t have? Some days that’s fine. But when you are feeling adventurous and you want to expand your usual repertoire of meals…then you might need to expand your pantry.

I do a lot of Asian cooking so I have a fairly extensive Asian Pantry and wrote a post about it. In my mind it must have gluten free soy sauce and ginger (fresh, frozen or minced in a jar). If you want to cook Thai you need cans of coconut milk, for Vietnamese a bottle of fish sauce is essential and so on. For this recipe you need fresh cilantro, sesame oil and dry sherry.

Once you buy those ingredients you will want a few other recipes to use them in. Try some of these:

Sesame oil – Hoisin Glazed Pork RibsSpicy Sesame Noodle SaladGarden Greens with Asian Dressing and Crispy Bean Thread Noodles and Everyday Vegetable Stir Fry

Dry sherry – Everyday Vegetable Stir Fry , Lion’s Head Meatballs and Hoisin Glazed Pork Ribs

Rice vinegar California Roll SaladSpicy Sesame Noodle Salad and Garden Greens with Asian Dressing and Crispy Bean Thread Noodles

Sichuan peppercorns – you go find the Sichuan peppercorns and I’ll work on posting another recipe to use them in. Until you find these just substitute an equal amount of regular black pepper.

Asian Fusion – Beyond Chinese Pesto

This recipe is from one of my favourite cookbook authors and cooking instructors, Hugh Carpenter. I’ve attended a few of his cooking classes and purchased several of his cookbooks at The Cookbook Company in Calgary. Let me know in the comments below if you have tried any Hugh Carpenter recipes or other Asian fusion dishes.


4-4 oz salmon filets
1 Tbsp GF soy sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp finely minced ginger
Thickening - 1 Tbsp cornstarch & 1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp finely minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp finely chopped green onion
2 Tbsp GF soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
½ tsp salt
½ tsp crushed Sichuan peppercorns (or substitute with more black pepper)
¼ tsp finely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil


Combine soy sauce, dry sherry, sesame oil and ginger then pour over salmon in a shallow bowl. Marinate for 20 minutes.
Fill a wok with a few inches of water and top. Line a bamboo steamer with a piece of foil and place inside the wok leaving space for the steam to come through. Cover the wok and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Place salmon on the foil, cover and steam until the it is firm to the touch and flakes with a fork, about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.
While the salmon is cooking make the Chinese Pesto.
Combine cornstarch and water in a small dish, set aside.
Combine ginger and garlic and set aside.
Combine remaining sauce ingredients in a measuring cup and set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté ginger and garlic for 30 seconds then add lemon juice mixture. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and continue stirring as it thickens. Remove from heat, pour over salmon and serve.


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