When you are cooking for people who are gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, and kosher, you can view it in one of 2 ways:
1. Throw up your hands and order out for Kosher vegetarian Chinese (I can’t even type that without retching in my own mouth)
2. Rise to the occasion and make those eating restrictions a delightful challenge.
I am a delightful person (don’t listen to my boyfriend), so I chose option 2.
Asian inspired food is a natural for gluten and dairy free people, and if you choose the protein carefully, it can be kosher. It is flavorful but customizable enough that it appeals to many tastes. It lends itself to an array of interesting side dishes and can often be cooked ahead of time or a la minute.
It is, in other words, ideal for a myriad of eaters, all regardless of issues and restrictions.
This is different from other Asian dishes I cook in that it isn’t spicy and does not include fresh garlic. This is a muted dish, spiced up with fresh ginger and scallions instead of chiles and pungent herbs. Cook this ahead of time and serve room temperature or (and yes I did this) just heat it up in the microwave.
4 8 oz. salmon fillets (ask for them to be cut from the center so they are almost the same thickness all the way through)
1/2 cup Miso Mayo or 1.5 tbs. miso paste mixed with 1 cup mayo (be sure that the miso is gluten-free – that’s why I choose to go the store-bought route for this)
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 tsp. fresh minced ginger
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
dash of soy
dash of hot chile sesame oil, or to taste
1. Mix all ingredients except salmon in a large bowl. Taste for seasonings – if it needs more salt, add soy. More acidity or sweetness, try the rice wine vinegar. It won’t be a punchy, loud sauce, but should be very savory.
2. Put the salmon in the sauce, coat the salmon evenly, and leave it in the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
3. When the salmon is done marinating, put it in the oven (set to broil), skin side down, and cook it for about 7 minutes, or until it flakes and is almost opaque in the center of the thickest part of the fish.
This is a major hit, whether your guests have food restrictions or not. The salmon, naturally fatty, is protected from the oven’s heat by its mayonnaise coating, keeping it lush and moist even if slightly overcooked. The scallions are clean and sharp and the ginger brings enough heat to enliven the sauce without really being spicy. The sauce is savory, thick, and somewhat sweet, caramelizing at the edges of the fish. Broiling the salmon results in crisp, salty skin that is the indulgence of anyone who knows that the good stuff is the fatty stuff. Save the leftover marinade, add a little soy, water, and rice wine vinegar, and boil it down to make a wonderful sauce. Served with rice and an Asian inspired salad, this is an elegant and delicious meal.
Never be tempted to order vegetarian Kosher Chinese again.