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Japanese Braised Salmon

4 1 inch thick salmon steaks (not filets)
2 slices peeled ginger
1 cup sake
3 tbsp. mirin (sweet cooking wine)*
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. soy sauce
vegetable oil for frying
1 oz. peeled ginger cut julienne
10 oz. bagged baby spinach

Place the salmon in a large, flat bottomed colander. If you do not have one, line your sink with some cheesecloth and be gentle! Pour boiling water evenly over the fish.  Turn the fish very carefully and pour boiling water on the other side.  This removes strong fishy flavors and any matter from the skin of the fish.  Dry the fish off carefully with a paper towel.

Into a large shallow pan that can hold all the salmon in one layer, put in the fish and the sliced ginger.  In a small saucepan, bring the sake and mirin to a gentle boil.  If you can't find the mirin, you can use another sweet wine or just more sake.  Also bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
Add the sake mixture to the pan with the fish.  Add enough boiling water to just cover the fish. Bring the fish to a boil over medium heat and skim off the foam until no more appears.  Reduce the heat to medium low, add the sugar and cook, covered with a drop lid (a lid that is just a little smaller than the pan so it sits on top of the fish), for 5 minutes.  Add the soy sauce and cook, covered with the drop lid, 18 to 20 minutes maintaining a gentle simmer.  Baste the fish with the liquid several times during cooking. 

While the fish simmers, cook the ginger and spinach.  Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot and cook the julienned ginger until golden and crispy.  Remove the ginger to a paper towel to drain. 
In a medium pot of boiling water, parboil the spinach for 1 1/2 minutes.  Drain the spinach and cool it under cold water.  Squeeze the spinach to remove excess water.  When the fish is done, add the spinach to the pot and let it absorb the cooking liquid.  Sometimes the broth has some little bits of fish in it, to clear the broth, remove the fish and strain the broth back into the pan before adding the spinach.
Serve the fish and spinach together with the crispy ginger as a garnish for the spinach.
This is also good served with a side of white rice.

*I had a really hard time finding mirin, so I thought I would give you some help.  It is kept in the Asian section of the grocery store by the rice vinegar. It is in a small plastic bottle and here is a picture so you know what to look for.  I was looking for a regular bottle of wine.

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