Last Sunday after Easter service at church, a friend and I went out for crawfish as an excuse to make up for a long-due catch up session. Being diligent foodies, we extensively researched our options ahead of time and decided on a authentically Louisiana spot called The Boil House. After driving for half an hour across town, getting lost, then finally finding the place, we got out of my car, strutted in our high heels and fancy-pants Easter dresses into a dubious-looking neighborhood and walked into a small wooden shack with a sign that read “Boil House”. There were about 4 wooden lopsided tables inside. Every other customer was dressed in Tshirts and jean shorts. Behind a ruddy smiling face at the counter, the menu read: crawfish $7.99/lb, potatoes, corn. water. And that was it.
Oh boy, this is going to be one interesting brunch, I thought. Nevertheless, I had faith in our foodie research and got over my self-consciousness of how much we stuck out in the crowd, and proceeded to order 4 lbs of crawfish. Our meal came in a giant plastic bag with a paper tray for crawfish carcasses and a large roll of paper towel. After taking one bite, I knew that we made the right choice. The meat was tender, blasting with the natural flavor of shellfish, and the Louisiana Cajun sauce was the perfect addition. And here we were, two petite Asian girls in pastel Easter dresses and heels, ripping into 4 lbs of crawfish in plastic bags with our bare hands, with nothing else for company but boiled potatoes. In retrospect, it must have been a hilarious scene for others to stumble upon. Never underestimate the mom-and-pop shop, never underestimate the Louisianian’s passion for crawfish.
To carry on my love for seafood, I decided to make a spin-off of the traditional Thai spicy soup called Tom Yom Soup. Tom Yum embodies a strong sourness from fish sauce and fragrant lemongrass. Substituting salmon for chicken and a few other ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised at how successful this fusion dish turned out. So I will share it with you here, and I hope you will like it and be inspired to carry out more culinary adventures. Also find me at Fiesta Fridays!
Heavily adapted from: Spicy Thai Coconut Soup by Myrecipes
Salmon Tom Yum Soup
- 2 red potatoes, skin peeled and cubed
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ginger powder, 2 tbsp
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped into 3 inch pieces
- 4 cups of seafood stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1.5 lbs salmon, skin peeled away but saved, chopped into large chunks
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 dash of turmeric
Set a large pot over high heat. Add canola oil, wait until it starts to shimmer then add potatoes. Saute and stir until edges are brown and crispy, about 6 minutes. Make sure to stir often to prevent burning on the bottom.
Add garlic and ginger powder, saute until fragrant. Add tomato, bell pepper and lemongrass. Stir fry until bell peppers start to wilt and tomatoes are giving out juices. Takes about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock and coconut milk, boil the pot then simmer for 15 minutes. Add salmon, fish sauce and lime juice and simmer for another 3 minutes, until salmon is cooked. * tip: don’t overcook salmon in this step.
Taste test and adjust accordingly. With the heat turned off at the end, add a dash of turmeric. It brings out a vibrant yellow color to the stew!
In a separate pan, heat up oil. Add salmon skin and sear on medium heat on both side until crispy. This takes about 7 minutes. Top the stew with lime wedges and crispy salmon skin!