GRILLED SALMON RICE BOWL
I’m all about real food which tastes great but is also nutritious. This is one of those recipes that may take a little practice to get the timing right, but persevere and you will have in your repertoire a dish that will wow even the most dedicated of health enthusiasts.
You see, there is a misconception that healthy food must be boring and bland. In my opinion that’s simply not true, and if you don't believe me, give this dish a go, as you might get a pleasant surprise at how flavoursome my healthy salmon dish is.
When coming up with recipes to put on my menus, nutrition has always been a vital part of my creation process. The reason is simple. Cooking with fresh seasonal produce sourced locally is full of health benefits and food shouldn’t be so processed that it has lost all its nutrition. Sadly, this idea gets lost in many fine dining menus and the dishes become more about the bells and whistles and less about the nutritional value of the meal. This is the reason I never pursued a career in super high end fine dining or Michelin-starred restaurants long term, as it just doesn’t feel right to me.
Did you know this recipe is perfect for meal prep? Here’s how: Multiply the recipe by the number of meals you want. Cook the rice and cool. Blanch the vegetables (i.e., boil and then stop the cooking process with iced water.) Cook the salmon and cool. When you want to prepare dinner simply assemble in a bowl and heat in the microwave for two minutes. That’s dinner done in less than five minutes! This dish also tastes great cold if you are a tradie or for anyone who takes their lunch to work for that matter, looking for something a little different.
I love catching fresh fish, and whilst living on a yacht in Thailand nearly a decade ago I had the opportunity to do exactly that. I was part of a crew of 10 people who had been invited to travel around the islands off the coast of Thailand for three months aboard a large yacht. Each of us had a role to play in exchange for board and lodging and mine was, you guessed it, the cook. Even in such an intimate group of seafaring vagabonds there were two vegetarians, a pescatarian and one vegan.
Early one morning, as the sun began to rise slowly over the horizon, transforming the sky and clouds into a wonderful shade of lilac and pink, I began to get my cast net ready. My plan was to start with some small bait fish then slowly work my way up the food chain until I reached the red emperor - a fish I absolutely love. I position myself on the stern sponson and threw my first cast. In a matter of seconds, I pulled in my haul with about 20 to 30 small whitebait. They bounced and squirmed as I began to scoop them up into my bucket. I was about to throw the net again when I heard the distraught sound of sobbing and I turned to see my vegan friend in tears. “Am I upsetting you?” I asked. “Yes, it’s very traumatic to see the helpless fish being murdered,” she sobbed.
How can I turn this into a ‘win-win’ scenario, I began to think to myself, when it hit me? “I understand how you feel,” I replied. “So why don’t we do it this way. I'll put the fish onto the back of the boat and you can try to free as many back into the water as you can, before I can scoop them up?” She wiped her now snotty nose and said with a renewed vigour, “You are on!” The absolute delight on her face made my heart warm as she darted around the boat freeing all the tiny fish. She was good. I got some but you should have seen her. She freed at least 80 per cent of each net cast. A win-win for everyone.
Chef Dylan tip: Don’t try to cook short grain brown rice using the absorption method, as it doesn’t work. Boil and drain first timers or, if using a new type (or brand) of rice, always check the rice very early in the cooking process to see if it is cooked. Rice has a tendency to go from soft to overcooked in mere minutes, and not all rice is created equal. It goes without saying, source your salmon from the local seafood guy. Skip the supermarket stuff.
PREP TIME: 45 mins
COOKING TIME: 20 mins
1 cup brown rice
2 litres water
1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
20 x green beans top and tail removed
1/2 bunch asparagus or kale
1.5 litres water
2 tbsps SPARTAN
1 tbs oil
2 x 200g salmon fillets with skin
1/4 cup toasted salted cashews (optional)
1/2 lemon, sliced
BOIL THE RICE
Bring water to a boil in a kettle then add to a small pot or large saucepan over high heat.
Add rice, then boil rice for 30 minutes until just cooked. Taste a grain; it should be a tiny bit firmer than you want as it will continue to soften during the resting stage.
Drain the cooked rice in a colander, shaking the pot well to remove as much water as you can, and shaking the colander to remove excess water from the rice. Pot should steam dry from residual heat.
Return rice to now-dry pot. Put lid on and put it back on the turned-off stove. Leave for 10 minutes to finish cooking; while that’s happening it’s time to BBQ the salmon.
GRILL THE SALMON
Mix SPARTAN with oil in a bowl and coat the salmon evenly. Marinate for 20 mins MAX.
Heat BBQ on high then turn down to medium.
Cook the salmon for 4 mins flesh side down then carefully flip to skin side down and cook for another 3 mins.
Remove and rest for 2 minutes.
Bring water to a boil in a kettle then in a small pot or large saucepan boil on high heat.
Add broccoli, green beans and asparagus or kale and cook on high for 2-3 minutes depending on size. Strain the vegetables in a colander.
Layer pan with cooked rice, greens and salmon and decorate with lemon slices. Finish with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. Yummo!