Jun 13, 2018

Thai Baby Bok Choy Salad with Salmon

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Crispy seared salmon over a base of bok choy and cabbage with a spicy, funky Thai dressing and topped with candied peanuts.

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Sliced pieces of crunchy bok choy are tossed in the spicy and savory Thai dressing and topped with sweet candied peanuts for a refreshing salad. The delicate flavors of the crisp and flakey seared salmon are complemented by the sweet and spicy Thai vinaigrette and enhanced by the funky flavor of the fish sauce.

I had a similar salad from Night + Market at an event recently and was disappointed to find that it wasn’t on their regular menu so I knew I would have to recreate it on my own! 

Thai Baby Bok Choy Salad with Salmon

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Bok choy – Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage. Most people think of bok choy as something added to a stir fry or sautéed as a side. I only recently tried baby bok choy as a salad base, and I loved the texture that it added – similar to celery but less tough.
  • Purple cabbage – The cabbage adds a nice texture and crunch which complements the other ingredients. I like to use a mandolin to shave the cabbage finely though it can also be thinly sliced with a knife. I like using purple cabbage for the bright contrast of color.
  • Thai bird’s Eye chili – Bird’s eye chilies or Thai chilies are small, pointy chili peppers that pack a punch. They add an intense heat with fruity flavor to dishes rating between 50,000 and 100,000 Scoville units. They can sometimes be difficult to find so I usually buy a large bag of them at my local Asian market. I store them in the freezer in a resealable plastic bag. It’s actually easier to cut them when they are frozen.
  • Fish sauce – I love the funky umami flavor fish sauce adds to any dish. It’s a great way to enhance the flavor of curries or even chicken wings. The flavor comes from a process of fermenting fish over a long period of time.
  • Herbs – I add a combination of cilantro, mint, and basil to this Thai salad. I love the use of fresh herbs in Thai cooking – it helps to brighten up the salad. While the recipe calls for Thai basil, regular basil can be substituted based on availability.
  • Salmon – The salmon is seasoned simply with salt and pepper to let the dressing shine. I like to crisp the salmon in the pan so the skin gets crispy as well. While the most common type of salmon sold in stores is Atlantic salmon, there are many other varieties. Atlantic salmon is much fattier and thicker than many other varieties so be sure to account for the type of salmon in cooking time.
thai baby bok choy salad with salmon recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Thai Baby Bok Choy Salad with Salmon

Thai dressing:

  1. Whisk the dressing. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the garlic, Thai chilies, ginger, grapeseed oil, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce until it emulsifies.
  2. Set aside. Set aside. The dressing can be made up to two days ahead of time and whisk again before using.

For the candied peanuts:

  1. Melt the sugar. Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the sugar and cook the sugar until it begins to melt, about 10 minutes. Stir constantly until the sugar has completely melted, about an additional 5 minutes.
  2. Add the peanuts. Add the peanuts and toss to coat them in the sugar then season with the cayenne and salt. Turn out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let cool completely.
  3. Cool and chop. Once cool, chop the peanuts. They can be made up to a week ahead of time and kept in an airtight container.

For the salmon:

  1. Sear the salmon. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Season the salmon with salt and pepper then add the salmon fillets skin-side-down to the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  2. Flip and continue to sear. Flip the salmon so it is skin side up and continue to cook until just cooked through, about an additional 3 minutes. Remove the salmon filets from the pan and set aside.

For the salad:

  1. Toss the salad. Add the bok choy, cabbage, onion, green onion, cilantro, mint and basil to a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine then add the dressing and toss to combine.
  2. Assemble and serve. Divide the salad among serving bowls and top with a handful of the candied peanuts, sesame seeds, and a filet of salmon.
Crispy seared salmon over a base of bok choy and cabbage with a spicy, funky Thai dressing and topped with candied peanuts.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Thai Baby Bok Choy Salad with Salmon

Print Pin
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Thai dressing:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small Thai chilies, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

For the candied peanuts:

  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the salmon:

  • 1 pound salmon, cut into 4 filets
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

  • 8 large heads baby bok choy, sliced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Thai basil or regular basil
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

Instructions:

Thai dressing:

  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together the garlic, Thai chilies, ginger, grapeseed oil, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce until it emulsifies. Set aside. The dressing can be made up to two days ahead of time and whisk again before using.

For the candied peanuts:

  • Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the sugar and cook the sugar until it begins to melt, about 10 minutes. Stir constantly until the sugar has completely melted, about an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the peanuts and toss to coat them in the sugar then season with the cayenne and salt. Turn out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let cool completely. Once cool, chop the peanuts. They can be made up to a week ahead of time and kept in an airtight container.

For the salmon:

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Season the salmon with salt and pepper then add the salmon fillets skin-side-down to the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Flip the salmon so it is skin side up and continue to cook until just cooked through, about an additional 3 minutes. Remove the salmon filets from the pan and set aside.

For the salad:

  • Add the bok choy, cabbage, onion, green onion, cilantro, mint and basil to a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine then add the dressing and toss to combine.
  • Divide the salad among serving bowls and top with a handful of the candied peanuts, sesame seeds, and a filet of salmon.

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