• Butter Salmon: Doumo arigatou, Ocean Sushi!

    by Richard Oh

    For this article, I am happy to have a salmon dish from Ocean Sushi Deli paired with a new release: 2010 Otter Cove Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands.

    Ocean Sushi owners Chris and Toshimi had a vision when they first arrived to the Monterey Peninsula. And that was to spread the Japanese culture through food. That vision has grown to two locations. Chris graduated from the prestigious Tsuji Cooking School in Osaka, Japan while Toshimi studied Nutrition and grew up cooking for friends and family in Nara City. A quarter century ago they opened Ocean Sushi Deli on the corner of David and Forest Avenue in Pacific Grove to share with the community a healthy alternative to fast food. This take-out only sushi shack offers Japanese snacks, beverages, and pre-packaged sushi as well as made to order items. Luckily the community dove right in and soon they were catering to many local hotels, weddings and other events such as the Concours d’Elegance. Although they just stopped this special service, for 20 years they prepared sushi early each morning and delivered it to several of the local markets and institutions like Grove Market, Bruno’s, Nielsen Bros., Cornucopia, Carmel Valley Market, CHOMP, PG Middle and High School among several other fine local establishments to make sushi accessible for everyone.

    Their daughter, Shiho, returned to the Monterey area and started working at Ocean Sushi in 2008. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara and taught English in Kyoto, Japan the “sake capital of the world” for a couple years on the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program). She also worked selling wines in the Bay Area and for an IT company before moving back to Monterey. Shiho grew up in the food business so it’s no wonder that she is a natural at running a restaurant/catering company. Go and visit her and her family, your tummy will thank you for it.

    Today their Monterey store which opened in 2000 located downtown near the Monterey Post Office offers 100 sushi items and 100 authentic Kansai (Osaka vs Kantō – Tokyo) Style entrees/dishes in an unpretentious deli style atmosphere. Their sauces and dressings are made in house and hot tea, citrus water and Japanese barley tea is complimentary on a self serve basis. One can find Japanese beer and their favorite “Echigo” which is actually made from rice in Japan and therefore gluten free. They also offer many vegetarian, a few vegan options and a decent selection of chilled sake.

    Stop by for a hot bowl of ramen or soba on a cold night or their most popular Teriyaki Salmon over rice called donburi, in a bento or on a salad. Order a sushi platter for your next work lunch meeting instead of a tray of cold cut subs or stop in to buy some snacks for your friends and family. The Monterey location also offers a delivery service for Monterey, Pacific Grove, Seaside and Carmel after 4:30pm.

    Monterey Location:
    165 Webster Street, Monterey CA, 93940
    Casual Café Dining
    831-645-9876

    Pacific Grove Location:
    2701 David Ave., Pacific Grove, CA 93950
    Take-out Only
    831-649-1320

    The recipe is a salmon prepared in sake, butter, lemon, soy sauce that will tantalize your tastebuds. It’s very simple and doesn’t require a lot of time. It’s also healthy for you. I’ve paired this with the newly released Otter Cove Chardonnay.

    There are few ways to pair wine with food. One, pick flavor profiles from the wine with the food. This is a way of complimenting each other. Two, pick a sweeter wine with spicy dishes. This is a way of contrasting flavors. Three, pick higher acid wines with fatty foods, like heavy sauces. Four, body to body. Pick a light-bodied wine with lighter dishes and medium bodied wine with medium intense foods and spices.

    The Chardonnay grapes are widely grown all over the world. It is a close second to the Pinot Noir grapes grown in Monterey County.

    The Otter Cove Chardonnay went through partial malolactic fermentation and spent part of the time in neutral oak. Malolactic fermentation is a process where malic acid (harsh tart acid) turns into lactic acid (softer), which makes the wine easier to drink and gives it a fuller, rounder mouth feel. The Chardonnay is a new release and is a 2010 vintage from the Santa Lucia Highlands. You’ll get a full rounded mouth feel of butter, tropical fruits, with a hint of citrus on the finish. Itis a nicely balanced wine with acid, body, and depth. The neutral oak added layers and complexity.

    Why did I pair the Chardonnay with the salmon you ask? I wanted to pick up the acid from the lemon and the creamy feel of the butter to the wine. The charbroil went nicely with the essence of the oak. This is a case of complementing as well as contrasting. The acid from the wine will cut through the butter and the citrus compliments the lemon. In addition, the body to body matched nicely. Try it for yourself.

    Lemon Sake Butter Salmon
    serves 2

    • 2 5oz salmon filets
    • 3tbsp soy sauce
    • 6tbsp cooking sake
    • 1/2 tbsp butter
    • 1 lemon
    • flour
    • pinch of salt
    • cooking oil

    Pre-season salmon with a hint of salt and then place in bowl with 3tbsp of cooking sake. Wait 15 minutes then wipe excess moisture off with a paper towel.

    Dredge salmon in flour, warm up a fry pan to medium heat and drop a little oil.

    Pan fry both sides of each salmon filet until almost done and toss in butter, 3tbsp each of cooking sake, soy sauce and juice of one lemon wedge. Quickly flip the salmon over to make sure the sauce is coated on both sides and serve with thin slices of lemon on top.

    salmond & chard

    posted to Cedar Street Times on March 30, 2012

    Topics: Oh, Have A Taste!

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