Sunday, March 27, 2011

Salmon with Thai Rice Salad

We had this salmon with rice salad back in December, when the season wasn't right but it sounded good anyway. This is a fantastic spring/summer dish, with the cold and flavorful rice salad underneath a nice piece of salmon.

If you're not used to the flavor of fish sauce, the first bite of rice might taste a bit odd, but just keep eating it in between bites of salmon and you will fall in love...that's what happened to me. I can't wait to have this again when the weather warms up!

Salmon with Thai Rice Salad

Rich broiled salmon rests atop a lean vegetable-and-rice salad to make a beautifully balanced meal. The Asian dressing includes big impact flavors--fish sauce, lime juice and cayenne--but very little oil.
Wine Recommendation: Rieslings are among the most versatile of white wines and one of the few that work well with salads. With this Thai-inspired dish, try a simple kabinett from Germany's Mosel region.

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
3 tablespoons lime juice (from about 2 limes)
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch cayenne
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 carrots, grated
4 scallions including green tops, chopped
6 tablespoons chopped cilantro or fresh parsley
2 pounds skinless center-cut salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Stir the rice into a medium pot of boiling salted water and cook until just done, about 10 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the sugar and cayenne. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, cucumber, carrots, scallions and cilantro.

Heat the broiler. Oil a broiler pan or baking sheet. Coat the salmon with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Put the salmon on the pan. Broil until just barely done (fish should still be translucent in the center), about 5 minutes for a 1-inch-thick fillet. Put the rice salad on plates and top with the salmon.

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