Salmon with Udon Noodles and Pickled Ginger

The dense flesh of thick salmon fillets won’t fall apart when it’s cooked in kebab-style chunks, so is ideal for quick noodle dishes like this one. It’s briefly marinated in soy sauce then stirred into soft red onion with a hint of garlic, using miso soup paste or half a chicken stock cube for the cooking sauce. It takes minutes before the chunks of fish are ready to eat, served over silky udon noodles tossed with scraps of frilly pink sushi ginger and a splash of sweet chilli sauce. My chopstick skills proved lacking for the speed I wanted to eat this bowl of slippery food but you might do better. I’d recommend a spoon and fork. The flavours are gentle but interesting and benefit from a last minute splash of sweet chilli sauce. Incidentally, I couldn’t locate sushi ginger so made my own. It’s simple and results are stunningly good, much hotter and vibrant than bought sachets. I give a recipe at the end.

Serves 2, generously

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 15 min

1 large red onion, approx 150g

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp water

2 thick salmon fillets, approx 150g each

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 bundles Udon noodles

1 miso soup paste sachet or

½ chicken stock cube

15g sushi ginger (or see later)

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

     Put the kettle on to boil. Trim, halve, peel and finely slice the onion. Crack the garlic, flake away the skin and finely chop. Heat the oil in a lidded sauté pan and stir in the onion. Cook, stirring regularly for 3-4 minutes until the slices have begun to wilt. Stir in the garlic, add 3 tbsp water, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes until the onion is juicy and soft. While the onion cooks, cut the fish into kebab-size chunks and mix with the soy sauce. Cook the noodles in boiling water from the kettle according to packet instructions – likely to be 10 minutes – drain, rinse with cold water, return to the pan and mix with the ginger and 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce. Dissolve the soup paste or cube in 250ml water from the kettle. Add the fish to the soft onion, increase the heat slightly and turn as the pieces change colour. Add the soy and liquid plus the miso or stock. Bubble up, cooking for a minute or two. Divide the noodles between two bowls and pour over the fish and its sauce. Serve with the sweet chilli sauce bottle. To make your own sushi ginger:

15g piece fresh ginger, 1 tsp sa1t, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp rice, cider or white wine vinegar. Peel the ginger as thinly as you can, use a mandolin or super-sharp knife and slice as finely as you can. Place slices in a pan and cover with 150ml water and 1 tsp salt. Simmer for 3 minutes. Drain. Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 2 tbsp vinegar and stir in the ginger flakes. Place in a small jam jar and chill for at least 1 hour. The ginger flavour will be strong. Wonderful.