Monday, March 17, 2014

Pistachio Encrusted Salmon with Black Rice and Broccolette

Pistachio Encrusted Salmon
with Black Rice and Broccolette

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I know that a salmon, rice and broccoli meal is not what you might normally think of eating on St. Patricks Day.  But I grew up in a family with no Irish ancestry, and a mother whose birthday falls on March 17th, so for as long as I can remember, this holiday has a lot more to do with my mom than it does with leprechauns, four leaf clovers or corned beef and cabbage.  And although my mom might be making a delicious corned beef, boiled potato and cabbage meal for my dad right now, she herself does not eat any meat, and will probably be cooking herself a nice piece of healthy fish to go along side.  (Hopefully my dad will take the time to bake her a cake since I live too far away to do it myself!) So when I made this meal the other night for my family, I immediately thought of my mother and how much I knew she would have enjoyed eating it with us. So this, mom, is for you!

Of course everyone knows that wild caught salmon is one of the healthiest sources of protein out there, full of healthy omega-3 fats and amino acids.  But it is also an excellent source of vitamins B3, B6, B12 and D, as well as selenium and phosphorus.  Pair that with the tender and sweet taste of broccolette (a cross between broccoli and a Chinese form of kale, both rich in vitamins C and A as well as calcium and iron) and you have a multivitamin on a plate. I am sure some of you reading this may never have heard of black rice, or maybe you have heard of it, but have never tried it before. Hopefully this dish will encourage you to add it to your list of pantry staples.  Like brown rice, it is high in fiber and cooks up easily in about 30 minutes on the stove, but it is honestly milder and almost sweeter in flavor (which is why I plan to try a breakfast porridge out of it soon). Black rice contains 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and vitamin E; as well as high amounts of fiber and protein.  It's dark, almost purple color is primarily due to its high anthocyanin content, the same antioxidant found in blueberries.

I added an Asian flare to this dish, inspired by both the black rice and the broccolette, and because I have always loved the combination of soy sauce and salmon together.  The pistachio topping I made is slightly salty, because all I had in my pantry were salted pistachios, so if you are trying to cut back on the sodium content I would recommend using the unsalted variety when making this dish.  Make sure not to salt the rice when cooking it either, whether you boil or steam it, so that it can fully absorb the flavors of both the fish and the broccolette.  I suppose with the green vegetable side and the green pistachio topping, this dish does have a slight St. Patrick's Day flare.  And I know my mom would approve!

Pistachio Encrusted Salmon with Black Rice and Broccolette

salmon and marinade:
pantry ingredients
2T. organic soy sauce
1 T. organic canola oil
1 T. sesame oil
juice of one lime
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1.25 pounds wild caught salmon fillets

Pistachio crust:
1/2 C. pistachios (raw or roasted)
some of the fresh ingredients
2 T. organic canola oil
1 T. organic soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

3 T. organic soy sauce
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
16 ounces organic broccolette

3 C. plain cooked black rice

3 T. organic chives, chopped

Combine the soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic powder and ground ginger and pour over the salmon.  Marinate in the dish for 30 minutes, turning once.  Bake at 400F for 20 minutes. In the meantime, puree the pistachio crust mixture.  After the salmon has been in for about 10 minutes, toss together the broccolette with the soy sauce and olive oil and bake along side the salmon for 15 - 20 minutes. Once the salmon has been cooking for about 20 minutes total, remove from the oven and spread the pistachio mixture on top of the salmon. Bake another 5 minutes or until cooked through. Serve both the salmon and the broccolette with the cooked black rice and garnish with chives.

salmon, ready to cook

broccolette, ready to cook

pistachio mixture, ready to blend together

hot from the oven

dinner is served

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