Chinese 5 Spice Roasted Salmon

As with many people, the day after January 1st brings about change. The holiday decorations are put away and the house cleaning begins. There is a sense of renewing healthy habits and setting aside those less desirable habits that have crept back into our daily lives.

The New Year has brought a renewed interest in healthy and nutritious eating around our house. In general, our family has a relatively healthy diet. We stay away from fast food, don't eat a lot of processed foods, and try not to eat so many chips, cookies, and bowls of ice cream. We are not nutritious freaks, but are conscience of what goes in our bodies. I should rephrase that. I am conscience of what everyone eats. My kids would just as much eat Reese Puffs, Tostito Scoops with con queso dip, and gallons of cookie dough ice cream. Just like every other American kid.

Almost weekly, I ask for dinner requests from my family. My Middle One usually suggests the same list of 3 entrees: Double Crust Pizza, Panko Chicken Fingers, or Teriyaki Salmon with white rice. I can't complain - she gives me suggestions and is consistent and persistent in her requests. I planned a shopping day for yesterday and included a salmon dish on the menu. My original recipe was to be salmon marinated in red miso. I searched my grocer's shelves high and low and did not find red miso. Now what? Was I reverting to to Teriyaki salmon again or be adventurous in the New Year and try something new? I improvised a recipe and came up with Chinese 5 Spice Roasted Salmon with Endive and Pickled Ginger and Shallots. I served it with Coconut Rice and Sesame Sugar Snap Peas.

The salmon had a nice delicate yet distinct flavor that balanced well with the spicy endive and pickled ginger and shallots. A bed of rice for the salmon and a side of crunchy sugar snap peas made for a delicious meal. We ate in shifts with No Thank You Boy, My Middle One, and myself eating first. No Thank You Boy usually says "No Thank You" even before any vegetable hits his plate. With a nod to our healthy eating plan, I decided he is trying before he can say "No thanks." News flash! He liked the sugar snap peas, but dramatically choked on the endive. He gave 4 forks to the salmon and had 2 servings. My Middle One said the fish marinade reminded her of a chicken seasoning and really enjoyed it. I tricked her and did not tell her until after she finished her Coconut Rice that it actually wasn't plain, white rice. She could tell the difference. The Husband worked late and reheated his in the microwave. It came out perfect and he also liked the delicate Asian taste. He was not a fan of the endive. He refrained from the theatrics his Mini Me performed earlier to show his dislike for the bitter endive. The Husband took some of the leftovers to work today. My Oldest was off babysitting and actually ate salmon at the neighbors' house.

Similar to a teriyaki salmon, but not as strong and overpowering flavor, I think this recipe is a keeper. Hopefully next time I am looking for an unusual ingredient at the store, I won't be able to find it and have to improvise on dinner again.

Chinese 5 Spice Roasted Salmon with Endive and Pickled Ginger and Shallots

serves 4 with enough for leftovers for 2 more servings the next day

2 to 2 1/4 pounds of salmon, one large piece with or without skin on (can also be cut in serving size pieces

3 tablespoons grated ginger, divided
1 tablespoon garlic, about 1 large clove, minced
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, divided
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 heads endive
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffanode
1/4 cup carrot, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place salmon in a large glass baking dish. You may have to cut the salmon in serving size pieces. In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the ginger, garlic, honey, Chinese 5 Spice, soy sauce, and 3 tablespoons of the rice wine vinegar. Pour mixture over the salmon and let marinate for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons ginger, 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, and shallots. Slice endive crosswise in thin slices. Toss the endive with the basil, carrot, and pickled ginger and shallot. Set aside.

Roast the salmon in oven for about 12 - 16 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit about a minute or 2 before serving. Serve with Endive and Pickled Ginger and Shallots, Coconut Rice and Sesame Sugar Snap Peas.

For the Coconut Rice, combine 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, and 1 cup white rice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

For Sesame Sugar Snap Peas, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add about 3 cups of sugar snap peas to the boiling water and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes. Do not overcook. There should still be a crunch to the peas. Drain and toss with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.

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