Several years ago, I bought a wonderful cookbook called Terra, Cooking From The Heart Of The Napa Valley, by Hiro Stone and Lissa Doumani. As often happens, I've enjoyed reading this book and imagined cooking several of the recipes, but never did so. One dish in particular has appealed to me, a fillet of grilled salmon on top of rice, surrounded with a lovely red curry sauce, and topped with crunchy cabbage salad. It's exactly the kind of dish that appeals to me. So, I decided the time had come to make this dish, and I was not disappointed. The sauce is slightly nippy, but not overpowering, and absolutely delicious. The cool, crisp salad is perfect with the soft and succulent salmon. The dish looks impressive, but is actually quite easy to make. It would be perfect for a dinner party, because you can prepare the rice, sauce, and salad in advance, leaving the salmon, which takes less than ten minutes to cook.
This recipe is full of herbs and spices, which makes it a noble candidate for Weekend Herb Blogging, created by Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen. This week WHB is being hosted by Rinku at Cooking In Westchester-the practical, spicy, flavorful Way. Check out the Roundup of herby recipes at Rinku's site, you'll be glad you did. It was quite easy for me to choose my herb this week. Look at the lovely cilantro gracing the top of the dish. My favorite herb is cilantro, hands down. Some people hate it, which is unfortunate. But it appears that this dislike is genetic, so why torture yourself? If that's the case, you could just use the mint. This was one of my favorite meals this year, so I recommend this to those who like this type of cuisine. I also recommend the cookbook, Terra.
(Adapted from Terra)
1 Cup Jasmine rice cooked according to directions or in a rice cooker
About 2 cups of thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 of a peeled thinly sliced cucumber
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced, peeled ginger root
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, cracked or pounded in a mortar and pestle
1-1/2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
2 Tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
4 salmon fillets--about 6 ounces
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped peanuts
Make rice and set aside to keep warm.
Make the salad by combining the cabbage, cilantro, mint and cucumbers in a bowl. Set aside. Make the dressing by mixing the soy sauce and vinegar in a small cup and setting it aside.
Make the sauce by heating the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute the garlic and ginger for several minutes, then remove from the heat and add the coriander seeds, cumin, paprika, curry paste and cook over low heat for 2 minutes to release the oils, stirring constantly. Do not let it burn.. Add the coconut milk, tomato paste, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Increase the heat and bring the mixture ALMOST to a boil, stirring constantly. Be careful and don't let it boil or it will separate. Remove from heat and keep warm, or reheat it very gently when ready to use .
Cook the salmon by heating a heavy skillet and coating the surface with the olive oil. Season the fillet with salt and pepper. When the skillet is hot add the fillets and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until the salmon is brown and still translucent inside. Peek at the center of the fillets with the tip of a sharp knife. Don't overcook!
To Serve: When your salmon is done, put about 1/2 cup of rice on a plate. Ladle some of the sauce around the rice. Place a fillet on top of the rice. Toss the salad with the dressing and place a tall mound of it on each fillet. Garnish with cilantro, and peanuts.