Last weekend, I attended my first Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, also known as Expo West on the West Coast. I only did three days of it, but it was so amazing and full of fantastic new items – as well as a handful of familiar favorites! I left the show with three packed shopping bags full of samples (OMG, so many snacks) and then spent Saturday night and Sunday morning in Los Angeles before heading back to the Bay.
I went out on Saturday night to Genwa Beverly Hills, one of my favorite Korean restaurants that isn’t in K-town. Obviously we needed post-dinner drinks, so we ended up at Now Boarding and The Phoenix, and at some point, everyone headed back to my hotel room at The Orlando to hang out until we were nodding off. Prior to that evening, I had signed up for an early workout at Training Mate in West Hollywood…but when I woke up at 7am, exhausted, and sprawled out comfortably in a king-sized bed all by myself, there was no way I was getting up for class. (Next time, Luke Milton!) Instead, I slept for another few glorious hours, then checked out and headed to Erewhon Market.
I am obsessed with Erewhon. Can we just talk about their tonic bar for a moment? In the middle of the store, there’s a little counter where you can order custom juices, shots, and Bulletproof Coffee (I usually DIY, but when you’re pressed for time or traveling, this is awesome). Erewhon also carries so many excellent items that I have a harder time finding up here in Northern CA, so when I walked in, it was like a light shining down from the heavens, complete with a chorus of angels. If you’re in LA, go there. You’re welcome.
Just like every trip to Los Angeles, I return home inspired by something. This time, it was a prepared collard green wrap that I grabbed for the long drive from LA to SF. I’m bummed that I threw out the container before checking to see what the ingredients were, but I knew I wanted to somehow recreate this yummy and healthy sandwich alternative! If you aren’t familiar with Vietnamese sandwiches (Banh Mi), try this – it’s got that sweet and savory marinade, paired with crunchy pickles and fresh herbs, making this a delicious warm weather dish. If collard green wraps aren’t your thing, you can still make this – just use a really good baguette to hold it all together.
Salmon Banh Mi Collard Green Wrap
1 lb. wild-caught salmon fillet, pin bones removed
Marinade for fish:
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 teaspoon low-sodium tamari
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-2 T avocado oil mayonnaise
1 cucumber, sliced into strips
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and destemmed
1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds very thinly (optional)
Collard green leaves
Prepare the marinade by dissolving the brown sugar in very hot water, then mix in the rest of the seasonings and pour over the fish in a shallow dish and let it marinate. I let mine marinate overnight, but you can do it for as little as one hour. Set your broiler to high, and broil the fish six inches away from the heat source for about 7 minutes (more or less), until the fish is cooked and the edges start to brown. Let cool.
To prep your collard greens, “debone” the leaf with a paring knife by shaving the thick stems that run down the center of the leaves. This will help to make the leaf more pliable. I also do a quick blanch in boiling water to help soften the leaves – this is optional, but it makes it so much easier to work with.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, flake the salmon and add mayonnaise (adjust to your preferred ratio). I use the least amount possible, just so that it doesn’t mask the flavor of the fish. It will have the same consistency as a tuna salad. Put one prepared collard green leaf in the middle of your work surface, spoon a heaping scoop of salmon mixture in the center and flatten. Add cucumber, do cha, cilantro, and jalapenos if you are using them, then roll it up like a burrito. (Need a more detailed description? Click here.)
Ta-dah! How easy was that? Now, I know some people don’t like cilantro, but it’s sort of a vital flavor to this dish so without it, it might be missing that something special. Feel free to experiment with other herbs – basil and mint might work well too.