Kimchi Salmon Poke

Hi, remember me? I know it's been a while, so if you forgot about me, I 100% get it. But I'm back and super pumped because for the next month, I'll be sharing all my fave recipes from loads of new Spring/Summer cookbooks! There are so many gems out right now that I thought it'd be near criminal of me to not dedicate a month to all the glorious new cookbooks. The only break in FFF's cookbook month will be next week for popsicle week, which is basically one of the coolest (hehe) weeks of the year, and probably deserves its own cookbook at this point :D (hint hint Billy)! Also, is it weird to start my cookbook month in the middle of an actual month? Oh well!

First up for cookbook month is Martha Cheng's The Poke Cookbook, and it's, as you might have guessed, all about POKE!! It's packed with 45 recipes for poke, bowls, and various local Hawai'i staples and totally stunning. Poke, in case you still haven't heard of it, is a Hawai‘i pupu (appetizer) of raw, cubed fish that's usually seasoned with Hawaiian salt, soy sauce, and/or sesame oil, and it's one of my go-to snacks when I'm craving a taste of home. A week or so ago, Moses and I popped over to O'ahu for a quick trip for his brother's wedding, so I hit up Martha to see if she might meet me irl!! I'm such a dork, but I was def a little nervous and was so pumped that she said yes. Anyway, I should have known not to worry, because she's an absolute sweetheart and the real deal when it comes to all things food. I loved chatting with her and hearing about her time on the line and how she came to love cooking and writing about food. 

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I've had her recipe for kimchi (kimchee) poke bookmarked ever since I got my hands on her book and have been basically waiting for wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon season to start so I could make it. It's honestly the best salmon I've ever had, I mean look at that color. But it's so much more than that super beautiful deep almost neon color. The texture is silky and the flavor is unlike any other salmon out there. To give you an idea of how good this salmon really is, I wanna share a quick story. So I made a batch of Martha's kimchi salmon poke and packed some up in one container, then packed up some hot rice in another and handed some off to my friend Courtney and her boyfriend Roy. They're both from Hawai'i. Long story short, soon after the hand off, I got a text from Courtney that read, "I've never had salmon this fresh... the salmon almost looked like ahi... holy moly it's incredible." That sums it up pretty perfectly. And I'm super pumped because in three weeks, Molly, Kristan, Nik, Gerry, and I are all headed to Cordova, Alaska to hang with the folks at Copper River Salmon. I cannot wait to report back about all things salmon, but until then, let me just leave you with Martha's poke recipe and a gentle nudge to grab some Copper River Salmon to make it!!

Kimchi Salmon Poke

Reprinted with permission from The Poke Cookbook.
Copyright © 2017 by Martha Cheng.
Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. finely minced garlic
  • 1 lb. salmon, cut into 3/4-inch piecews
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped kimchi
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced scallions (green parts only)
  • Salt to taste

TOOLS

  • Small and medium bowl

FIX

  1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Stir, and let the ginger and garlic sit for about 5 minutes to mellow.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the salmon with the sesame oil until it is evenly coated--this will prevent the acidity in the kimchi from "cooking" the fish. Add the kimchi, scallions, and soy sauce mixture. Fold gently until thoroughly mixed. Taste, and add salt as needed; if your kimchi is already well seasoned, you may not need any salt. 
  3. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a day. If you let the poke marinate, taste it again right before serving; you may need to season it with a pinch of salt. 

Notes: I added almost double the ginger, garlic, and sesame oil to my poke (which, is just to say, taste as you go and season accordingly). I also recommend using Hawaiian salt or a kosher salt if possible. 

Ps: The folks over at Copper River Salmon were kind of enough to send me some salmon from the start of their season to get me ready for my Alaskan adventure. Thanks, guys!!!