I tried very hard to find a correct English name for this Taiwanese herb. It's actually called 刺蔥 - direct translation will be prickly scallion. Prickly because the stems are full of cactus-like thorns all over. The leaves have a distinct and pungent aroma. Aboriginal people in Taiwan usually take the leaves and lay them under the sun before storage.
Dana leaves, that's how the aboriginal lady called this herb with her native tribal language.
The lady told me dana leaves are usually used in fish soups. That actually makes sense because its strong scent can definitely remove any gamey taste from the fish and brightens up the flavor. However, instead of making a fish soup, let me try dana leaves with baked salmon.
Baked salmon fillet with ponzu and dana leaves -
Ingredients (for 2 fillets)?
2 salmon fillets
2 tablespoons of ponzu sauce
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 bundle of Chinese dana leaves
1 tablespoon of sake (or any Chinese cooking wine)
1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
Some freshly ground black pepper
Some dried seaweed flakes
Some toasted white sesame seeds
Some Sriracha sauce
Preheat the oven to 345 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line the baking dish with aluminum foil. Evenly sprinkle washed and dried dana leaves all over. Transfer the fish fillets onto the leaves. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of ponzu sauce and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil onto each fillet. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper and put 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter on each fillet.
Into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. Once done, remove from heat and reassemble the fish onto another plate. Sprinkle some dried seaweed flakes and toasted white sesame seeds. Serve with Sriracha sauce and perhaps some fine sea salt if desired.
This is a very light but healthy dish. On top of buttery taste, the salmon also comes with a slightly leafy aroma. I simply served it with steamed white rice and some stir fry vegetables. If you can't find dana leaves, I suppose mixed Italian herbs will do the same trick!