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By Ngoc Sii

In a cooking session with Chef Donald Duong, I was fortunate to witness the making of salmon tataki with mango salsa, a signature, award-winning dish.

Chef Don uses local, seasonal ingredients, combined with typical Vietnamese items. A wide range of vegetables is combined with salmon and attractively presented.

Salmon Tataki

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz. fresh salmon fillet
  • Mango, pineapple
  • Shallot, garlic
  • Cayenne pepper/jalapeno
  • Fennel
  • Fish sauce
  • Lemon juice and some leaves
  • Sugar, salt, sesame seeds
  • French’s Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
  • 1 avocado
  • Vietnamese spearmint leaves and some coriander stalks
  • Dried bonito flakes
  • Tobiko wasabi eggs

Preparation:

Mix 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons ground garlic, 2 tablespoons ground shallots. Marinate salmon with the mustard mixture. Then dip fish in sesame seeds so it is fully covered.

Place a saucepan on medium heat, add cooking oil and when the saucepan is hot, fry the salmon for 1 to 1-and-a-half minutes per side. Do not overcook. The garlic, shallots and sesame in the marinate will add flavor. Since the mustard already contains shallots, garlic and salt, you can skip them in the marinate if you prefer.

After salmon is fried, cut lengthwise into thin slices and line with spices for decoration.

Mango Salsa:

Key ingredients include: fish sauce, sugar, olive oil, salt, lemon extract, mango, shallot, garlic, cayenne pepper or jalapeno chili, fennel, and lemon leaves. Adding fennel to the salsa magically eliminates the smell of raw fish.

  • 1 mango (8 oz.) ripe but not too soft
  • 4 oz. pineapple
  • 2 oz. shallot
  • 1 oz. garlic
  • 1 oz. jalapeno chili
  • Diced fennel (handful)

Dice all ingredients into cubes. Add a few lemon leaves, a sprinkle of sugar, dash of olive oil, some fish sauce, a little lemon extract and a pinch of salt.

Prepared a day before serving. Add chopped spearmint leaves and coriander stalk to enhance aroma.

To serve:

Peel and cut avocado into thin slices. Place on a plate and lay thin slices of salmon on top of the avocado. For garnish, add some dried bonito flakes and green or red tobiko eggs. Pour a small amount of mango salsa on top and reserve the rest to eat with the salmon. Revise garnish according to personal taste.

Chef Don says that Salmon Tataki is a special fusion treat not only for its taste (it pleases Canadians’ palates) but also its health benefits. Chef Don always adds a touch of his homeland to his dishes and in this case it is fish sauce. The proper use of fish sauce can enhance the taste of a dish unexpectedly – it is Chef Don’s distinctive signature.

Culture Magazin’s August will feature Tuna Salad Roll, another of Chef Don’s award-winning recipes.