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Miso Salmon with Sesame Salt: Newsness

This is usually the time of year when each new day is full of hope. The new year is full of possibilities. New jobs, friends, fitness goals, diets, weddings, babies, home redesigns. Cleansing. 2011 was a particularly reflective year for me. In some ways, I struggled through adulthood.

I started the year with a new job that I love, after working a job that I did not love. In 2011, three of my good friends had babies. That changed things a lot. Matt and I launched the Pairings Box. It took over our nights and weekends in a way that made me forget what my weekends used to look like. I made new friends, and rediscovered old ones. I checked going to my 10 year high school reunion off the list of things I thought were infinitely far away. I lost my grandmother to her longterm illness. We dealt with Matt’s mom going through a frightening health scare. I saw my name (and picture!) in The New York Times. I fried donuts. I took a few trips. I finally threw out most of my old t-shirts and socks. It felt good to start 2012 in the present (and to wear a gold sequin shirt and my highest heels).

As we charter off to a new year, I’m focusing on rediscovering the things I love and may have started to take for granted. The last few weeks, I’ve read a lot, baked a lot of bread and cookies, engaged in some crafty activities involving glitter and scissors, and gone on a lot of long city walks. In a book or magazine, perhaps, I recently read how, in the early stages of dating, we can often find ourselves feeling like tourists in our own city.

There’s a certain newness to a place that’s been worn for a while when you have an opportunity to share it with someone new. The trees look a little different. The coffee shops seem somehow more interesting. The bookstores are more inviting. The restaurants are more exciting. The colors are brighter. Like all things in a relationship, though, once you get settled and comfortable, your surroundings become a little more predictable as well.

I’m starting 2012 by readjusting my glasses. I’m finding new nooks and crannies in my city. I’m exploring a new camera lens, and the way it makes the world look — in macro focus. In many ways, my new lens is demonstrative of a general feeling I’ve had: wanting to be more focused on the few things that are most important, rather than all the noise around…the blur in the background.

Instead of going on a juice cleanse or a carb-free diet, I suggest we just focus on trying to be better, in whatever small ways we can. I’ve been on a miso kick recently, and have made this miso salmon recipe from Donna Hay several times. It’s light, flavorful, and clean-tasting. It’s a beautiful dish to kick off the New Year. I hope that you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a restful few days. We’re excited to be back home, here with you.

Miso Salmon with Sesame Salt

adapted from Donna Hay
*serves 4

2 salmon fillets, deboned
1 tablespoon of white miso paste
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of sugar snap peas, trimmed and blanched
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
one bundle of soba noodles

1. Make the sesame salt by combining the sesame seeds and sea salt in a mortar and pestle. Crush together.
2. Combine the miso paste and 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a small bowl and mix together.
3. Cut the salmon fillets into ‘fingers’ cross-wise and place in a non-metallic bowl. Add the miso sauce and toss the salmon with your hands, making sure it’s coated with the sauce.
4. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil while you cook the salmon.
5. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the salmon (in batches, if needed), and cook, turning the fish, for about a minute or so (until it is just cooked through). The sauce will caramelize on the salmon. If your fish has skin, it should crisp up.
6. Once the salmon is cooked, set it aside and keep warm while you cook the peas and noodles.
7. Add the peas, garlic and 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the skillet and cook for about 30-45 seconds, stirring. Remove from the heat and set aside.
8. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Drain.
7. To serve, place noodles in bowls, top with peas and salmon. Sprinkle with sesame salt.

Musical Pairings: Kid A – Ppponey OST + Miso Salmon with Sesame Salt

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • that. looks. insanely. good.!!

  • Lovely post, Kasey. I’ve been contemplating the meaning of adulthood more and more lately, and after my best friend gave birth, womanhood as well. Lovely recipe, too. My blog is purely vegetarian but I adore salmon on occasion. I just haven’t learned how to make it quite right; this recipe seems like a great one to try. Thanks!

  • must try this. Parents always looking for new ways to cook salmon

  • Thanks, Kate! Salmon, historically, has been my favorite fish, but lately I’d gotten bored with it. This was a nice twist from the old routine. I think it’s inevitable to struggle and contemplate adulthood…probably well into your 50s and 60s! Deep inside, I think we all stay pretty young πŸ™‚

  • Thanks, Bev. Happy new year to you!

  • I hope they try it and hope they like it πŸ™‚

  • Megan Gordon

    Love this, Kasey. I know full well the “newness” you talk about due to my long-distance relationship with Sam….whenever he’s in town, San Francisco becomes a whole new playground with “I want to show you this,” and “isn’t this great?” Then when the dust settles and we’re in between visits it’s just Tartine and Ocean Beach and … but I remember last year Heidi wrote about starting to try and see the city new again, even going to touristy places she usually doesn’t frequent and it’s such a nice idea and nice thought for the new year. xox

  • Achowlife

    A gorgeous post. You make me excited for the new year, Kasey. Thank you for that. I’m saying with blurry eyes and terrible hair this morning. You’re the best. And, congratulations on the NYT article. How did I miss that? Wonderful! Happy New Year! I think starting it off with this tofu is just about perfect. xo

  • MJ

    This sounds great! It is now clipped and on my list to make this week. Evernote is my new obsession – I have been clipping recipes all over the place – thanks for the recommendation. It was great seeing you and Matt over the holidays. Btw, we went to Alanna’s and we definitely have to go together the next time you are in town.

  • Hey Megan! I can’t wait to try Alanna’s next time we’re in town. It’s always lovely to see you both. And I’m glad to hear Evernote is helping you tackle recipes. πŸ™‚

  • Thank you, dear! I hope that your New Year is off to a fabulous start. I saw you’re making homemade hamburger buns…the best! xo

  • I bet you and Sam play tourist a lot when he comes into town, and I’m sure it’s thrilling every time…even if you’re hitting spots that are old and familiar to you. I’ll have to find Heidi’s post – it doesn’t ring a bell, but I can imagine her reflections were beautiful. Happy New Year my friend! xo

  • Beautiful post. I love your resolve to focus more on a few important things, things we may have come to take for granted. I’ve never been a big fish person, though I am slowly but surely learning to like it and find salmon one of the most appealing. This looks like a wonderful way to start the year!

  • Thanks, Kathryn! Salmon is definitely the gateway fish πŸ™‚ I hope you had a lovely NYE and hope that 2012 has lots of wonderful things in store for you. Cheers!

  • Beautiful words, Kasey! I always enjoy your reflections. I agree that this clean-tasting (love the sound of that!) meal is a great alternative to a cleanse or restrictive diet. I hope you’re loving your new lens, the pictures look great πŸ™‚

  • Thanks, Nicole! I hope your 2012 is off to a rockin’ start. These pics were taken with my old lens but I am excited to start sharing ones taken with the new one! Thank you for the sweet words. xo

  • I love miso & fish together and this meal sounds delicious. And I’m all for being a better person & discovering new things. Happy new year to you!

  • Yay for discovering new things. Happy New Year – cheers!

  • Anonymous

    A salmon recipe using miso is a wonderfully international way to liven up the usual salmon dinner! Thanks for showing a more adventurous way to cook salmon at home.

  • Cornelia

    Seriously, I love all your presentations. Your pics are just divine!:)

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