Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Trader Joe's Spicy Salmon Gyoza

Perhaps the best consequence of writing this blog is that I buy and try something that I never would otherwise, just because I've decided to sample everything TJ's puts out that isn't in my "automatically will hate" category--and every once in a while I'm hit with the happy surprise of liking something unexpectedly. This is one of those occasions.

I don't mind salmon, but it's rarely what I'll choose from a restaurant menu, and never what I'll choose to make for myself. So I felt about 95% confident that my reaction to spicy salmon gyoza would be somewhere between "meh" and "ick." But no! I liked them--a lot.

Now, perversely, this may be because the addition of a vegetable mash and a lot of spices makes the salmon less distinctively salmon. That was basically why Nina's reaction to these was much less favorable than mine; she felt that salmon is delicate, and can't stand up to a lot of tampering. (She also voiced a suspicion that they use low-quality salmon here, because who would take good salmon and make it so that it's hard to taste?) But for me, that's a feature, not a bug. I think they've nailed a nice blend that causes the salmon to shine like the soloist in a concerto, supported by an orchestra, rather than standing on the stage alone.

The first time I made these, I used the microwave method, even though I suspected that it was suboptimal. It was fast and easy, but the pastry pouches were kinda mushy. When I prepared the last third or so of the bag for myself for a lunch the next day, I used the pan-fry instructions. This involved more time and work, but the texture ended up much nicer.

Will I buy it again? 

Definitely. It's a surprise new favorite.

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