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Ana Mandara is a popular Vietnamese restaurant located in the heart of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.  The restaurant specializes in Asian fusion.  I lived in San Francisco for several years, and each time I’d take out-of-towners to the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf area, I’d see this restaurant packed full of people.  It has been on my list of places-to-eat for a while, but somehow I just never made it out there.  Guess I figured I could visit anytime, seeing as to how it was so close by.

I found this recipe by chance on an old SF Gate article.  Its a unique twist on your basic salmon recipe.  The mango sauce definitely imparts a complexity to the salmon.  Upon taking a bite, I was hit by the sweetness of the salmon, which was immediately followed by a savory undertone of the fish sauce and heat from the red pepper flakes.  The tartness of the lime juice didn’t surface until a little afterward.  I couldn’t make up my mind if I liked it or not, but it kind of grew on me, and I found myself wanting more.  The flavors layer upon each other, complementing each other quite nicely.

Seared salmon with mango sauce

Seared Salmon with Mango Sauce, by Ana Mandara’s Chef Kai Duong

2 6-ounce salmon fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
3 T olive oil
1 t chopped garlic
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1  1/2 T fish sauce
1 T lemon or lime juice
1 T water
1/4 mango, julienned

Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.  Heat 2 T olive oil in a skillet over high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the salmon and sear for 1 to 2 minutes, allowing it to brown slightly.  Flip the salmon over and sear on the other side for 1 to 2 minutes, just until it is cooked through.  Transfer the fillets to a serving dish and keep warm.

To make the sauce, heat the remaining 1 T olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 15 seconds.  Then, add the fish sauce, lemon juice and water.  Cook until the sauce is reduced by half.  Add the julienned mango and saute for 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and spoon over the salmon.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2

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