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Super-Fast Asian Salmon Pasta with Easy Peanut Sauce
Easy Peanut Sauce
- 1/2 cup nonfat milk
- 1/4 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (such as Kikkoman Light)
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons chili garlic paste (see note)
Salmon and Pasta
- 16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti or linguine
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless salmon filets, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 teaspoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- In a medium bowl, combine milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and chile paste, whisking until smooth. Set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
- While pasta cooks, in a large nonstick skillet, briefly heat oil over medium-high heat. Add salmon, green onions, garlic, ginger, pepper, and salt, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peanut sauce to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until salmon is cooked through but still tender and flaky and the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Serve salmon mixture over pasta, sprinkled with cilantro.
Chili garlic paste: For some reason, any time I see this ingredient listed and I need to pick up some for a recipe, I always feel like it's a confusing ingredient to shop for in American grocery stores, probably mostly because every brand seems to call it something slightly different. It's sort of a cousin to sambal oelek and the ever-popular sriracha. Over the various times I've made this recipe, I've purchased both Annie Chun's Go-Chu-Jang (Korean Sweet and Spicy Sauce) and Dynasty's Thai Chili Garlic Paste (links provided so you can see what the various brand labels look like). Different brands may taste just slightly different (and spell it differently – sometimes spelled as chile instead of chili). Basically, though, they all offer a bit of heat and the flavors of peppers and garlic. If you're concerned about the heat (which may vary by brand), you could always cut the chili paste back slightly the first time you make this recipe, but my family finds 1½ - 2 teaspoons to be a great amount – flavorful, yet not too spicy.
Make-ahead tips: If you'd like to help this recipe come together even faster at mealtime, you could mix up the peanut sauce up to a day ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. You could also mince the ginger and garlic, slice the green onions, and cube the salmon earlier in the day, storing the fish separately from the ginger, garlic and onions, covered, in the refrigerator.