Few techniques are as magical as cooking in a sweet and savoury caramel sauce, a technique I learnt while travelling in Vietnam. Caramel Salmon is a good place to start since the process is straightforward. Pairing jackfruit with piquant caramel sauce and winter squash for a meatless spin is an excellent way to balance the sharpness of the fruit. Buy jackfruit in water or brine, not syrup.
TIME: 30 MINUTES
SUBSTITUTION IDEA: If you like fish sauce but not in the amounts in these recipes, replace some of it with water or a combination of water and soy sauce.
½ cup fish sauce
1 cup sugar
1 red onion, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon pepper, or more as needed
¼ cup rice vinegar, or to taste
1½ pounds salmon fillets or steaks
¼ cup chopped fresh
coriander, for garnish
1.Mix the fish sauce with ½ cup water in a measuring cup . Put the sugar in a large frying pan over medium heat, add two tablespoons water, and stir. Cook, gently shaking the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the sugar liquefies and begins to bubble. When the sugar is melted, continue to cook and shake until the caramel darkens to the colour of iced tea, a minute or two. Remove from heat.
2.Carefully and slowly, pour in the fish sauce mixture. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel melts into the liquid. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it so ens, three to five minutes. Add the pepper and vinegar and mix.
3.Nestle the salmon in the sauce (skin side down, if using fillets). If necessary, add enough water to bring the sauce about halfway up the sides of the fish. Adjust the heat so it bubbles very gently and cook, using a spoon to baste the top of each piece with sauce until the fish is almost opaque at the centre and flakes without looking dry, five to 10 minutes, depending on thickness.
4.Remove the fish from the pan. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, adding more vinegar or pepper if necessary. Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with the coriander and serve.
Extracted from Dinner For Everyone by Mark Bittman, published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC, priced £30 (hardback). Available now.