This is comfort food — not in the same sense as mac ‘n cheese of course, but anything sitting on top of a steaming bowl of sushi rice is comforting in my book. Sushi rice is completely satisfying and very filling. Its gluey deliciousness is worth an occasional departure from brown rice (although short-grain brown rice would also work for this dish) — especially since sushi rice is a key part of what’s referred to as the healthiest diet on earth.
This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s book Kitchen. The only changes I made were to use chili paste instead of the finely chopped red or green chiles Nigella called for. Plus, I cooked a bunch of broccoli to serve with it. Broccoli works great with the slightly sweet and spicy Asian flavors here, and I definitely felt like the dish — and my kids — needed a veggie. Green beans would also be good, or asparagus. I like that the meal is customizable and can be deconstructed for any kids’ food issues (er, I mean tastes).
The most comforting thing about this dish was that everyone in my family loved it. Especially me.
Salmon with Sticky Rice
2 1/2 cups sushi rice (You can buy this in bulk at Whole Foods; I recommend making more than this because you’re going to crave it for lunch the next day.)
1 lb. slab of salmon without the skin (preferably wild salmon; remove the skin with a knife if necessary)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tsp. red or green chiles, diced (I used Sambal Oelek red chile paste.)
2 tbs. minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbs. mirin or sake (Nigella called for 2 tbs. of each, but I just used the mirin. Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine and is usually easy to find in the Asian aisle of the supermarket; sake requires a trip to the liquor store.)
2 tbs. lime juice (about 1 lime, squeezed)
Cook some broccoli (or green beans or asparagus spears or all of the above) in salted boiling water until just tender, 2-3 minutes, drain and set aside.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add a few drops of oil. Sear the salmon for 4-5 minutes on one side (if you’re using a stainless steel pan, the salmon should release fairly easily when it’s ready to be turned; don’t mess with it until then), turn it over and cook for another minute or so. The salmon should be just barely opaque and cooked in the center. Remove it from the pan and put it on a large piece of tin foil; make a loose package with the foil and seal the edges to keep the fish warm.
Mix the sauce ingredients together and put in a bowl to serve alongside the salmon and rice. You can serve this family style with the whole fish on a platter, which would make a nice presentation for guests, or divide the rice and fish (and veggies) into separate bowls according to your picky eaters’ specifications. I left the sauce off my daughter’s portion and added extra heat (I recommend trying sweet and gingery Lingham’s hot sauce; Sriracha is also tasty with this) to mine and my husband’s.
Tomorrow, leftover sushi rice with sauteed mushrooms for lunch! Mmmm.