Enjoy the pungent punch of fresh ginger
If you want to add a little spice to your life, try cooking with fresh ginger.
Though it's often called ginger root, it is not a root at all but the rhizome or underground stem of the plant Zingiber officinal, which comes from the same family as turmeric and cardamom.
SEARED GINGER BALSAMIC SALMON WITH HOT AND SOUR SLAW
A medium-bodied gewurztraminer or riesling or a light lager or ale will pair well with this spicy dish, which I've adapted from “Simple Asian Meals” by Nina Simonds (Rodale, $29.99). Serve with brown rice or another whole grain.
¼ cup soy sauce
3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
4 (6-ounce) pieces center-cut salmon fillet with skin, patted dry
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons canola oil (divided)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (divided)
3 ½ cups (9 ounces) shredded broccoli slaw
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
Source: Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school and co-author of “Mmmmiami: Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.”
When buying fresh ginger, look for heavy pieces with smooth brown skin and no wrinkling or mold. Fresh ginger is hard and breaks cleanly with a snap. If you see pieces with fibers coming out at the break, they're old.
Ginger can be kept in the refrigerator for two to three weeks wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag. Moisture is ginger's enemy and can cause mold to grow. It can also be wrapped in foil and stored in the freezer for one to two months. It will lose its crispness but will still be flavorful.
If I have too much ginger on hand, I grate it, add enough water to make a paste and freeze it.
I can then easily add it to stir fries and other dishes.
Asian cooking authority Nina Simonds recommends burying a knob of ginger in sand to keep it fresh. She says it will even grow.
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