Hosting a causal event with friends and family and want to spice it up? This Korean-inspired salmon ssam feast from Dale Gray’s South of Somewhere (Simon & Schuster, 2023) pairs flavorful salmon with a build-your-own-adventure element. Gochujang-glazed salmon and a fresh, crunchy apple and cucumber salad fill these lettuce wraps, along with steamed white rice to make them a bit more substantive. Ssam is a Korean term referencing savory fillings wrapped tightly in a bundle of lettuce. The style of eating also encourages sharing with and supporting loved ones. Gray writes that preparing a bite of food for someone you love and respect is a typical Korean tradition. So grab your partner, family member, or friend to share this tasty, heartwarming custom.
½ cup mild gochujang
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 (1½ pound) salmon filet, about 1¼ inches think
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup Everyday Gochujang Sauce
4 Persian cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
½ cup loosely packed mint leaves
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 large apple
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Everyday Gochujang Sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large head butter or green leaf lettuce, thinly sliced
Cooked rice (optional)
Everyday Gochujang Sauce
For the salmon
For the cucumber apple salad
For the spicy mayonnaise
Make the Everyday Gochujang Sauce:
- In a glass jar, stir together the gochujang, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame seeds until fully incorporated and smooth. Use right away, or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Cook the salmon:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line rimmed sheet pan with foil. Place salmon on top. Pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using a silicone brush or back of spoon, spread gochujang sauce evenly over top of salmon. Bake until thickest part of salmon reaches 135 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Heat broiler.
Make the cucumber apple salad:
- In medium bowl, stir together cucumber, mint, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Core, quarter, and thinly slice apple. Stir into bowl. Refrigerate until time to serve.
Make the spicy mayonnaise:
- In small bowl, combine mayonnaise with gochujang sauce. Stir to mix well.
- Broil salmon until glaze is sticky, about 2 minutes.
- On large serving platter, transfer salmon. Garnish with green onions.
- Serve alongside spicy mayonnaise, cucumber apple salad, lettuce leaves, and individual bowls of rice, if desired.
Excerpted FromSouth of Somewhere by Dale Gray (Simon & Schuster/Simon Element). Copyright © 2023.