This Asian-inspired salmon with crispy kale is one of our go-to weeknight dinners. It’s healthy, easy, and spicy. For fun, we decided to add “boozy” to the list by throwing in a generous shot of soju, a Korean liquor that’s ubiquitous in Seoul, and tastes like a close relative of both vodka and sake. Like sake, soju isn’t necessarily our favorite booze to drink, but it was a tasty addition to our already spicy sauce.
The heat comes from chiles. You can use whatever sauce or paste you want — gochujang, sriracha, or any other chile-based condiment — but we used our new favorite, Chile Crunch. It’s a blend of fresh-roasted chiles, garlic, onion and spices, and we sometimes eat it straight from the jar. (And we promise no one is paying us to say that.)
We recommend serving this salmon with spicy soju sauce over fluffy coconut rice — sushi rice cooked in a combination of water and coconut milk. Since we like crispy salmon skin, we cook it skin side up. But if that’s not your thing, just cook it skin side down and remove the skin before serving.
Salmon with Spicy Soju Sauce
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
3 tablespoons Chile Crunch or Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons soju or sake
1-2 bunches kale, with stems removed and torn into strips
1 pound salmon, sliced into 2 fillets
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
To make the spicy soju sauce, melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat, then add the tamari or soy sauce, and chile sauce, along with the soju. Whisk everything together and reduce the heat as low is it will go and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, evenly distribute the kale on a baking sheet. Drizzle the kale with about ⅔ of the sauce, and then toss the kale until it’s coated.
Drizzle each side of the salmon filets with the remaining sauce and place the salmon on top of the kale, skin side up (or down, if you prefer). Bake the salmon and kale, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.
Serve immediately with rice and enjoy.