Patrick Dunlea was booted off Top Chef Season 5's first episode because his salmon and bok choy were lackluster and his black-rice noodles were mushy. Gail Simmons amps up the broth with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and garlic and uses white-rice noodles instead of black (they're easier to find), cooked briefly to keep their texture firm.
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4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces rice vermicelli, broken into 4-inch lengths
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 center-cut salmon fillets with skin (about 6 ounces each)
1 pound baby bok choy, cut into thin wedges
2 scallions, thinly sliced
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, water, mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and sugar to a boil.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a bowl, soak the rice noodles in very hot water until pliable, about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and add them to the boiling water. Cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to 6 shallow bowls.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the salmon fillets with salt, add them to the skillet skin side down and cook over high heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until medium-rare, about 4 minutes longer. Set the fillets on the noodles.
Add the bok choy to the boiling broth and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, divide the greens among the bowls and spoon in the broth. Garnish with the scallions and serve.
Argentinean Torrontés is a good choice here.
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