Friday Fish — Asian-Style Salmon on Fennel, Celery, + Onions with Ginger Asparagus


Friday Fish is a big thing in Saint Paul, Minnesota where Dave and I lived for a few years and where Irish Catholics built the town.  All year ’round, there are Friday Fish Nights at local restaurant-bars, but during the season of Lent, they sometimes become ALL YOU CAN EAT FRIDAY FISH, including at the iconic Groveland Tap,which was just 1/2 block down from our old house.  Currently the all-you-can-eat fish is just over $11 and includes slaw and fries.  Beer’s extra. Sigh.

If, by chance, you’re interested in Lent, you might like to visit my day-by-day Lenten Journey, “Praying in Saint Paul.” There is a post for each day in the season.  For a particular day, click the word CLASSIC in upper left corner and then click on SIDEBAR; the list of each of the 40 days will appear at left.

Stop in at The Groveland Tap:  Fairview/St. Clair — Saint Paul, Minnesota

Living in Colorado Springs, I don’t see this, but perhaps I don’t know where to look.  If I showed up at a bar near one of the big Lutheran or Catholic churches, maybe I’d see a good fish fry. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.  In the meantime, I thought I’d serve up  fish each week of lent just because.  This week salmon caught my eye at Whole Foods, where you can buy individually cryovaced (sp?) packages of salmon fillets for a really good price.  Wild salmon is out of season, so if this is how you get your salmon fix.  (Skip most farmed salmon for health reasons; we’re encouraged to eat it only on the rare–uh–occasion.) Our regular grocery store often has a side of frozen wild salmon, as well and that’s a bargain at $11.99 per pound. See if yours has this good deal.

Belated note:  Upon further investigation, it looks like TONY’S BAR on Tejon in downtown Colorado Springs is serving Walleye and a Draft for $9.95 on Friday nights.  Go Tony’s! I love Walleye, mid-western girl that I am. BTW: I think Tony’s is closer to the Methodists and UCCers than to the Catholics or Lutherans. (below:  courtesy Tony’s)


 Anyway, try my….



serves 2-3

Without making rice, this meal might take you all of 15 minutes, including chopping and cooking.  The idea is to sauté vegetables for one minute, add salmon fillets and a soy sauce mixture, then cook covered for 10 minutes.  Et voila, dinner.

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry or Madiera
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1  cup white short or medium-grain rice
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoons plus one teaspoon minced ginger, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 salmon fillets, 6-ounces each
  • 1/2 pound chopped asparagus or haricots verts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1.  In a medium saucepan, over high flame, heat the rice with two cups of water and  1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes over low heat until tender. Remove from heat.  Fluff with a table fork.  Cover and keep warm.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the first three ingredients (soy sauce, sherry, sugar) and set aside.

3.  In a large sauté pan or deep skillet, heat over medium flame 2 tablespoons peanut oil with 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger and 1 minced clove garlic with a pinch of  crushed red pepper.  Add fennel, celery, and onion; cook 1 minute, tossing.

4.  Place salmon fillets on top of the onion mixture and pour the reserved soy sauce mixture over all.  Cover and cook approximately 10 minutes or until salmon is just barely done–a bit rare at center.  Remove from heat and let rest 3 minutes. (cont. below)


5. While salmon cooks, sauté asparagus for 2 minutes over medium-high flame in another medium skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil and the rest of the garlic and ginger. Set aside until salmon is cooked.

6.  To serve, scoop out 1/2  cup rice into one side of a shallow bowl (pasta bowl works well) or plate.  Using a slotted spatula, add onion mixture topped by salmon to center of the bowl.  Add asparagus between the two.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and a last grind of black pepper.

Truth in Cooking Note:  I adore the book Easy Chinese Cooking by Nancy McDermott.  The impetus for my salmon comes from one of Nancy’s simple fish dishes.

DRINKS:  Wine:  Oregon Pinot Gris   or Green/Jasmine/Oolong tea

DESSERT:  You won’t be hungry for any, but if you are, have a tiny serving of lemon sorbet.

Sing a new song,


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