As I slurped up the hot broth in this bowl the other day - sharp lime juice mingling nicely with salty fish sauce and the exotic (well, sort of) flavors of julienned ginger and lemon grass - I felt like I was finally making up for all that bacon grease. And there's so much left to go! I know I sound like a broken record, but bear with me. I rarely eat that much pig fat in one week and I'm still trying to get over it.
A soup like this one is perfect for January - it's easy to make when you just don't feel like you can peruse one more cookbook or start one more slow-cooked feast, and it's crammed full of vegetables for vitamins and fiber, salmon for omega-3 fatty acids and natural health boosters in the form of lime juice, ginger slivers, not to mention a full three cups of Grandma's best medicine: chicken soup. Plus, it has not a drop of added fat.
Nigella Lawson printed this in the NY Times three Januarys ago, and it is just the kind of recipe one can expect from her. It's fast, it's easy, it works. It's not ever going to compete with the multi-layered, well-developed flavors that might come by following recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop or Corinne Trang, but for people (moi) who are intimidated by Asian cooking and the plethora of ingredients it requires, it is just the ticket.
While preparing the soup, I even got to flex the Mini Macgyver in me: my widest pot (which was to be filled with broth and flavorings, over which the salmon chunks would then be steamed) is a cast iron pot that, once filled, was too deep for the steamer basket. Using a shot measure that I filled with soup so it wouldn't wobble, I balanced the salmon-filled steamer atop it precariously, then covered that with the lid of a stockpot. Steamed perfection!