I’m always torn between two of my favorite Thai fish dishes: Clay–pot salmon and fried whole fish with red curry. This recipe combines the two, featuring bright, sweet and tangy red curry with juicy, tender salmon, which caramelizes ever so slightly when it hits the hot cast–iron pan.
You can find shrimp powder at your local international market or Asian grocery store. We only use the fatty cream resting on the top of the can of coconut milk in this recipe; reserve the actual coconut milk for a separate dish.
Serves | 4 to 6 |
Red Curry Sauce
- 3 small stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 1 1-inch knob ginger, finely diced
- 3 Thai chiles, finely diced
- 2 small red bell peppers, finely diced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 Tbsp shrimp powder
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- ¹⁄₃ cup brown sugar
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- 4 6-oz salmon steaks
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp olive oil
| Preparation – Red Curry Sauce | In the bowl of a blender, combine all ingredients except brown sugar, coconut milk and lime zest and juice; blend until a thick and fine paste.
In a small saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop, add brown sugar and caramelize slightly, approximately 2 minutes. Add curry paste, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes more. Add only the cream resting on the top of coconut milk and lime zest and juice; stir to combine. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
| Preparation – Salmon | Heat wood-fired oven or grill to between 750ºF and 900ºF using oven gauge or a digital laser infrared thermometer.
Season salmon steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron pan in oven until almost smoking; remove from oven and add oil to hot pan and then salmon steaks. Return to oven and cook for 2 to 3 minutes; turn pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove pan from oven and pour curry sauce over salmon. Garnish with cilantro and serve.