I cook by either having a set idea in mind or I’ll let what I see in the store decide the menu. This is an example of the latter.
We are lucky to have an Asian “superstore” in our area where you can get just about any Korean, Chinese, Thai, or Vietnamese ingredient you might want. You can also find Mexican (labeled as “Spanish”) and Middle Eastern ingredients, too. Go figure.
I went in looking for very small bok choy, known as bok choy tips and ended up with dinner from what I gathered. I like to use this very small variety of bok choy (and the other similar small Asian “choys” ) ever since I found them in Chinatown years ago. They cook quickly and depending on their size can either be kept whole or sliced in half lengthwise.
The store has a large selection of fresh fish but since salmon is easy to find, I chose salmon.
Baby or even regular bok choy can be substituted for the bok choy “tips.” You would just have to cut it into pieces. I found a container of beech mushrooms but shiitake or oyster would work.
I also made some black rice, which technically used a second pan.
“You said it was only one pan…”
Are you finished? All right, I’ll continue.
You could use any rice, or none at all.
So you can see that this, like many recipes, has a lot of wiggle room for substitutions. Plus it takes little time to prepare.
Pan Seared Salmon with Bok Choy and Mushrooms
For two servings
Two 4 to 6 ounce salmon fillets
4 ounces bok choy tips, sliced in half lengthwise (or other bok choy, chopped)
2 ounces beech mushrooms (or about 6 to 8 shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
chili garlic sauce or other hot sauce, to taste (I used about 1 Tablespoon)
¼ to ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
canola oil, for cooking
salt and ground black pepper
1. Heat oven to its lowest setting. Mix the soy sauce, honey, chili garlic sauce, and ginger together in a small bowl and set aside. Season the salmon with salt and ground black pepper.
2. Place a large non-stick pan onto the stove over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, swirl in a tablespoon of oil. Place the salmon in the pan skin side up and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Cooking times will vary due to the thickness of the fish. A 1” thick fillet will require about 10 minutes total cooking time for well done, so adjust the cooking time to your preferred degree of doneness. After the salmon is nicely browned, turn the fish. Lower the heat and cover, cooking until the fish is almost done. Remove the salmon from the pan; place the fish onto a paper towel lined oven-proof plate. Cover the plate with aluminum foil and place it into the oven to keep warm.
3. Let the pan cool slightly then wipe the pan with a paper towel. Place the pan back onto the stove over high heat. When the pan is hot, swirl 1 to 2 tablespoons oil into the pan. Add the mushroom and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the bok choy to the pan and toss together. Moisten the bok choy with some of the broth. Cook for another 2 minutes to wilt the bok choy leaves and soften the stems. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then mix the garlic into the vegetables.
4. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan and stir it into the vegetables. Cook until the sauce reduces and slightly thickens; remove from heat.
5. Place rice (if using) onto the center of two plates. Place some of the vegetables over the rice. Place the salmon onto the rice and top the salmon with the remaining vegetables. Pour the sauce over the salmon and serve.