Recipe courtesy of Norman Van Aken

Tea Salmon in the Garden with Lemon

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr
  • Prep: 2 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 servings
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For the tea and fish:

1/3 cup Lapsang Souchong tea

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons butter

10 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

Big pinch pepper

8 wooden skewers, presoaked in warn water for at least 2 hours

24 ounces skinless, boneless salmon, cut into long ribbon shapes

For the lemon:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

2 shallots, peeled and sliced

1 bay leaf, broken

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 pound butter, cut into small pieces and kept very cold

Vinaigrette for the garden:

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup soy

1/2 cup dark roasted sesame oil

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

1/2 cup hot chile oil

3 tablespoons peeled, chopped ginger

3 tablespoons, minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar


  1. For the tea and fish: Soak the dried tea in the balsamic for a minimum of 30 minutes before proceeding with the next step.
  2. Heat a medium sized shallow saucepan. Add the butter and allow to foam briefly. Now scatter the shallots across the bottom of the pan and stir occasionally to coat them.
  3. When the shallots are caramelized, add the sugar and stir again. Now add the tea and balsamic and stir. Allow the vinegar to reduce almost completely. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool.
  4. Lay the ribbon cuts out on a cutting board. Take the prepared salmon and keep the best looking side down. Sprinkle or rub the tea mixture sparingly down the length of each ribbon.
  5. Roll the ribbons up into a tight circle and secure them with a skewer from the 12 o'clock to 6 o' clock position and the 3 to 9 o'clock position.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to grill them.
  7. Note: The tea mixture without the fish can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator
  8. For the lemon: Put the lemon juice, vinegar, shallots, bay leaf and cracked black pepper in a small, heavy, nonreactive saucepan and bring it to a simmer over a medium heat. Allow the liquid to reduce until only about 3 ounces remain. Now add the cream. Once it boils, whisk in the butter, a bit at a time until it is incorporated. Strain the sauce through a fine meshed strainer and keep in a warm place;
  9. Vinaigrette for the garden: Mix all of the above ingredients together and set aside.
  10. For the garden:
  11. An assortment of 8 cup mixed vegetables with an Asian aesthetic. I like to use a mix of cucumbers, purple cabbage, red and yellow bell peppers, blanched snow peas, blanched asparagus spears, bean sprouts and shiitake mushrooms.
  12. Peanut oil or canola oil for sauteing the vegetables:
  13. For the dish:
  14. When you are almost ready to eat, fire up a hot grill.
  15. Grill the spirals until just done, about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile heat a large wok or skillet until very hot. Add the oil for stir frying the vegetables. Add the vegetables and cook briefly together. Add enough of the vinaigrette to lightly dress them. (Reserve any extra in the refrigerator for another time.) Season to taste.
  16. Place the cooked fish in the center of four plates. Remove the skewers. Spoon some of the prepared lemon butter around the fish. Mound the vegetables over the fish. Serve.