Get Cooking: Ginger-Poached Apricots Over Salmon, Choi + Chili Oil

Get Cooking: Ginger-Poached Apricots Over Salmon, Choi + Chili Oil

In her follow-up to Ruffage and Grist, Michigan-based cookbook author, chef and farmer Abra Berens focuses on fruit—from apples and berries to quince and rhubarb. Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit includes 215+ recipes and was a decade in the making. 

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“I’ve been thinking about this book since 2013,” she says. “It was then that a dinner guest commented on how much fruit was used in savory courses. It occurred to me that that element of my cooking was unique to our fruit-producing region. It then made sense to turn into a book when hearing from a lot of friends that they needed inspiration on other ways to eat fruit, besides just eating it out of hand or making a pie.”

The book commences with a chapter on the “baker’s toolkit,” which features foundational recipes for breads, batters, cookies, pie fillings and more. Subsequent recipes are categorized by fruit, and then further grouped by preparation—for example, raw, grilled, roasted, poached, stewed and baked—with sweet and savory options for each. Sprinkled throughout the pages are compelling producer profiles, too. 

Here, Berens shares her recipe for Ginger-Poached Apricots Over Salmon, Choi + Chili Oil.

“I love the apricots in this dish because they bring every other element together—their sweetness balances the spice of the chili oil, and their tartness cuts the richness of the salmon,” she explains. “Similarly, choi has a delicate flavor, especially when steamed, and so pairs well with some of the stronger flavors in the dish.”
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Recipe: Ginger-Poached Apricots Over Salmon, Choi + Chili Oil

I use the term “choy or choi” as a general catchall of the choi family, Chinese cabbages in the brassica family. This group includes bok choy, tatsoi, pak choi, and choy sum. All are cabbages that don’t form heads and have broad leaves. As cool weather–loving brassicas, they tend to turn up at farmers’ markets in the spring and fall. Should you not be able to find them, you can substitute other cabbages, such as napa or savoy. Wash carefully, paying special attention to the dirt that can collect at attention to the dirt that can collect at the base of base of the stem.


  • 2 cups [480 ml] dry white wine 
  • 1 orange (about 3 oz [90 ml]), zest and juice 
  • 1 lemon (about 1.5 oz [45 ml]), zest and juice 
  • 2 in [5 cm] ginger, peeled
  • 2 whole star anise pods 
  • 2 green cardamom pods 
  • 2 lb [910 g] apricots, halved and pits removed 
  • 2 Tbsp chili flakes
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 4 oz [120 g] each), skin removed 
  • Salt 
  • 4 to 6 baby bok choy (about 11/2 lb [680 g])


1.) In a medium pot over medium heat, bring the wine, orange zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, ginger, star anise, and cardamom to a simmer. Add the apricots and poach until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool in the poaching liquid.

2.) In a small frying pan, heat the neutral oil over high heat for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the chili flakes. Steep for 10 minutes. 

3.) In a large pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring 3 in [7.5 cm] of water to a rapid boil. Season the salmon all over with salt. Transfer carefully to the steamer basket. Steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the bok choy and steam for 4 minutes more. 

4.) To serve, place a fillet of the fish on a plate next to a couple of bok choy. Top with a few poached apricot halves and drizzle all over with the chili oil.

Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit by Abra Berens, © 2023. Published by Chronicle Books. Photographs © EE Berger.

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