Coming home from vacation is always bittersweet. One second you’re skipping along singing kumbaya because it was so beautiful and the sun was so pretty and that IPA was so frosty and then the next, you’re ready to break down into tears when you see that leaning tower of pisa pile of laundry and the 18 unopened bills smashed into your mailbox. I must say, though, that the good always outweighs the bad and I feel rejuvenated and blissful.
I hiked, I laughed, I climbed more than a few trees. Life is good:) Culinarily speaking, it was hit or miss. My brother decided Top Ramen was good trail food and so I ended up eating my body weight in Sweet & Salty granola bars. But, we did go out to a few fancy shmancy restaurants in Los Angeles and I had some delicious seared tuna one night and some sushi another. Naturally, it evoked in me a burning desire to cast out my fishing pole and catch what I could for dinner at home. Hah. And by that I mean defrost some frozen fish and get to cookin’. I may get down down in the kitchen from time to time but this isn’t Cast Away, mkay?
I don’t cook fish very often because I usually prefer it grilled in the summertime. Whatta’ snob. But because the grill and I got more beef than Biggie and 2Pac, this means a person who knows how to properly use the grill is a necessity. I usually cook alone. This renders me hopeless, and also lame.
A fish dish for me most likely translates into throwing some olive oil on a fillet of salmon, dousing it in a hefty cloud of salt and pepper, and throwing it in the oven for 10 minutes. Nothing very fancy and nothing worth posting. However, this past summer I remember someone who was grill-certified (hint: not me) grilling up some mahi mahi one evening and I paired it with a mango chutney and brown rice cooked in coconut milk. It turned out pretty groovy to say the least. I wanted to incorporate something equally interesting with the salmon I bought at Trader Joe’s months ago that is about to transpire into fillet-o-freezer-burn.
Enter: marinated salmon with a tropical fruit relish and ginger coconut forbidden black rice.
Sounds legit, right? This salmon is also cooked in a pan and not on the grill so it is dummy-proof. Unless you are more of a dummy than me (who is still unable to beat anyone at a game of Candy Land) which is pretty much, I have decided, a physical impossibility.
Moving ahead. Sorta obsessed with this recipe. In this refreshing take on glazed salmon, the rich tropical fruit pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the glaze and also against the nutty chewiness of the black rice. If you have never tried black “forbidden” rice, which actually cooks up sort of purple, you won’t be disappointed. Find it by the normal rice (duh) or in the bulk bins!
Tropical Salmon with Coconut Black Rice
For the salmon:
- about 1 lb or two decent-sized fillets of salmon
- 1 T honey or agave nectar
- 2 tsp soy sauce or wheat-free tamari sauce
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger
- juice from half a lime
For the fruit relish:
- 1 ripe mango
- 1 ripe kiwi
- 1 or 2 large strawberries
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)
For the rice:
- 1/2 cup black “forbidden” rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 T minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 T coconut oil
- juice from half a lime
- Begin by making the rice! From the rice section of the ingredient list, heat up the coconut oil over medium in a decent sized pot. Once it’s melted, add the T of ginger and cook until fragrant (a couple minutes). Add in the rice and salt and stir well, stir like you mean it. Then add in the water and stir, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Cover and boil for about 45 minutes, stirring throughout.
- While the rice is cooking, marinate those salmon steaks. Place the first 7 ingredients from the salmon section of the recipe in a plastic bag or baking dish and toss salmon steaks…sufficiently coating each one. Seal the bag or cover the baking dish and let marinade for up to 30 minutes in the fridge, turning pretty frequently so they soak up the maximum amount of glaze!
- When the water from the rice is sufficiently evaporated, turn off the heat, let stand 5 minutes, and fluff with a fork. Stir in juice from 1/2 a lime and 1/4 cup cilantro. The rice will still be relatively sticky so don’t look all surprised when it comes out wetter than something like Basmati rice. Basmati is old school, baby.
- When the salmon is marinated, whip out a frying pan. Throw in some some olive oil or cooking spray and heat up to medium. Drop the salmon steaks in and cook thoroughly on each side. Unless you’re into the whole raw fish thing, which is great, except that this salmon is not sushi grade and therefore I do not recommend indulging in your inner grizzly bear. Should take about 5 minutes of cooking on each side…you will see the really pink middle turn opaque when done.
- While you’ve got this goin’ on, chop up all the fruit from the fruit relish part of the ingredient list. Stir in the orange juice and cilantro. I would really recommend fresh squeezed OJ, however snobby that sounds. It’s flavor is so refreshing and tart over the standard taste of the orange juice in a box. But I digress….
- Top the salmon with the fruit and pair it with the rice. Not only does your plate look like the rainbow, the way it tastes is sure to win over every salmon-skeptic. You’re welcome.
I’ve got a sweet, creamy, dreamy song for you today. This pop-synth jam is by an up and coming band called Young Summer. Listen to “Waves That Rolled You Under” and let it trickle into your ears on a hot night. Once you taste this dish, you’ll want to take a drive and blast this with the windows rolled all the way down.