Sweet and Smoky Salmon with Ginger Mahogany Rice...
My cooking style and culinary outlook have changed drastically in the last several years. Looking back, I remember coming home from work and spending hours in the kitchen, whisking, roasting, pureeing, bruleeing... learning. It was my hobby and my escape. As with all things I enjoy, I studied cookery. I was on a mission to prove something--if only to myself. My goal was always to create a masterpiece.
Seven years ago a life-altering change occurred...
The birth of child number one! As a former teacher, I pompously thought to myself, "How hard could this possibly be? I wrangle 25 kids at a time--all day long! This is going to be a piece of cake!" Yet, sleep deprivation and constant screaming do funny things to a person. Two weeks into motherhood, I had the daunting realization, I was in over my head. This was no easy task! With a greater sense of humility, I asked questions, read parenting books, and researched. I found a new mission, a new passion.
My passion for food hasn't changed, but my willingness to devote a third of my waking hours to it HAS. I'm constantly looking for ways to make recipes quicker and easier, without sacrificing health and flavor. Teaching Confidence In The Kitchen has reinforced this journey for me. The ladies I teach, aren't looking to be gourmands, in most cases. They just want skills to simplify the cooking process, and diversity on the dinner table. They want encouragement!
I am now a "Less is More" kind of cook. Big flavor, fewer ingredients, no one to impress. I like to let the food speak for itself. An ingredient's natural flavor, texture and color should SHINE--not get covered up by throwing the whole pantry in one dish! I still occasionally make a 30 ingredient, cook-all-day, type of meal--just not quite as often.
This dish is a perfect example of simple, flavorful cooking. I marinated the salmon in soy sauce, brown sugar and liquid smoke. The liquid smoke gives the salmon the essence of fish cooked over a cedar plank--without having to make a trip to the lumberyard! The modest rice dish is elevated by crispy, flash-fried ginger strips. Throw is a veggie and you have a wonderful, healthy dinner!
Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward. ~Soren Kierkegaard
Sweet-n-Smoky Salmon with Ginger Mahogany Rice
3-4 Salmon fillets, with or with out skin
¼ cup soy sauce
1 ½ tsp. liquid smoke
1/3 cup or more brown sugar + a little extra for sprinkling
1 cup mahogany rice
2 Tb. peanut oil, separated
2 cups chicken stock
1 3-inch piece of ginger
Salt and Pepper
Place the salmon in bowl, or large zip bag with soy sauce, liquid smoke and brown sugar. Let it marinate for at least 1 hour—but you could marinate over night! When ready to use, preheat the grill or an iron skillet to high heat.
In a medium sauce pan, over high heat, toast the rice in 1 Tb. of oil for 2 minutes. Then add the chicken stock and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer the rice for about 40 minutes—or as directed on the package.
Meanwhile, peel the ginger and cut into thin strips. (julienne)
Heat a small skillet over medium-high. Add 1 Tb. of oil to the skillet. When the oil is hot, drop the ginger in and pan-fry for 1-2 minutes, moving with a spatula, until they are light brown.
Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.
While the rice is cooking, CAREFULLY brush the grill with vegetable oil. (You could also use grill spray.) Pepper the salmon and place it on the grill, top-side-down. Cook 3 minutes.
Flip, then carefully sprinkle the tops with a little extra brown sugar and grill for another 3-5 minutes—until just cooked through.
Cover with foil and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.