My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch!

Bento Recipe: Salmon Saka-Mushi


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This was in one of my recipe books. It looked yummy and do-able, so I gave it a try. Let me tell you, it is well worth it!

Here's what you'll need. Amounts are approximate; feel free to tweak them if you want more fish or snow peas or mushrooms or whatever.

    Pile o' deliciousness1.5 pound of salmon fillet
    About a half pound of shimeji mushrooms (I didn't have these, so I used a few clumps of enoki mushrooms instead.)
    several inches of carrot
    2 scallions
    8 fresh shiitake mushrooms (Can be dried and soaked, but fresh really are preferable.)
    4 ounces of snow peas
    2 tbsp of sake
    1 tbsp of soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces. Mix the sake and soy sauce in a bowl, then marinate the salmon in that while you prepare all the other stuff.

Wash the shimeji or enoki mushrooms and cut off the hard root. Cut the stems off the shiitake mushrooms. Making shallow, tilted slits to cut out small strips, cut a white cross in the top of each of the shiitake mushrooms.

Slice the carrot into very thin coins. If you have a vegetable cutter in the shape of a leaf or flower, cut out little shapes so it'll look all autumnal. If not, no worries, the carrot's going to taste the same. Cut the scallions into segments a few inches long, and bisect the white segments the long way. Trim the snow peas.

Take a sheet of the foil and put a quarter of the salmon in the center. Arrange shimeji or enoki mushrooms on or around it. Put a few scallion sticks diagonally on top of that. Then cap it off with two shiitake mushrooms, a fan of snow peas, and a sprinkling of carrots. Sprinkle some of the marinade over the top, and a pinch of salt if desired. Now fold the two long sides of the foil rectangle together, then fold the shorter sides over to seal the package. Now do all this three more times so you end up with four equal packages.

Put the foil packages on a cookie sheet and bake it for 20 minutes in the center of the oven. The foil will puff up if you've sealed it well. If it does, they're ready to go. If not, don't worry, the steam just found a way to escape. Take them out and serve in their little tinfoil parcels.

They are supposed to resemble little autumn gardens when you open them. I don't know about that; sticks and dead leaves and mushrooms are not what I think of when I'm hungry. But then, I've never been known as a poetic soul. If it tastes good, it can look as prosaic as it wants!