Grilled Atlantic Salmon and Black Rice Salad

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black rice salad and pumpkinSo after a 4day foodie adventure in Melbourne (where I probably ate a few too many ridiculously tastey meals and drank a few too many delicious vinos) I needed something fresh and healthy for dinner..and what spells fresh and healthy better than a nice piece of grilled salmon and a nutritious black rice salad?!

Never used black rice before? Long been treasured in Ancient China as a luxury food, back in those days black rice soon became known as the “forbidden rice” as it was cultivated exclusively for royalty ONLY and all others were banned from eating it. Fortunately these days black rice is available for everyone to enjoy right around the globe! Though perhaps a little more expensive than your standard wholegrain rice, black rice makes a great addition to just about any dish. Not only adding more depth, texture and flavour to your meal but also obviously adding a whole heap of extra important vitamins and minerals! Hailed by many as being a “superfood” black rice contains significant amounts of the vitamin Niacin (needed to release energy from food, to control blood sugars and also plays a role in maintaining healthy skin, nervous system and digestive system), thiamin (required for optimum growth in childhood and fertility) and magnesium (essential for regulating blood pressure and in nerve and muscle function). It is also obviously a great source of fibre to keep our digestive systems healthy! The grain’s magnificent colour is due to a naturally occurring antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is also responsible for the vibrant colour of blueberries and blackberries! So really…what’s not to love about this tastey, nutritious grain?!

Ok so back to my nutritious dinner… I served up some fresh grilled atlantic salmon with roast pumpkin, a brown and black rice salad and some home made pesto! Deslishhh!

Here is what you’ll need….black rice salad1

2 salmon fillets

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

1/2 cup uncooked black rice

big bunch of parsley

1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes

1/2 can cannelini beans (rinsed)

1 small red onion

1/3 cup currants

handful of washed roquette leaves

1/4 cup mixed seeds (pepitas, pumpkin seeds, linseeds etc) OR i think a pistachios would also go really nicely with this dish!

juice of a lime

1 tbs soy/tamari sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

olive oil

sesame oil (optional)

Home made pesto (see previous salmon recipes for how instructions on how to whip this up)

200g chopped pumpkin

What to do…

Firstly turn your oven onto moderate heat (180degrees fan forced). Chop up your pumpkin and place it on a small baking tray, spray with olive oil and a sprinkling of pepper and then place in the oven to bake for around 25-30mins (or until it is soft and slightly crispy around the edges).

As for the pesto.. it was just a last minute idea and you can, of course, always just use a bought pesto or replace it with a dollop of tzatziki or chilli jam! It’s totally up to you! I was just going with what I could find hiding in the fridge! But if you are after the recipe for this have a look at my previous posts as I have explained the process a couple of times in previous recipes!

Although I cooked both lots of rice seperately (as per instructions on the back of the packets). You could also just buy a packet of already par cooked brown rice to save yourself some time and then just cook the black rice using the packet instructions. As they both take the same amount of time to cook however, it is almost just as easy to cook them both separately!

I think that the absorption method is best for the black rice (1 part rice : 1.75 parts water) where after rinsing your rice first, you just place your water and rice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, and then cover and leave for about 25mins or until all the water has all been absorbed.

As for the brown rice I just filled a saucepan 2/3 full with water then brought it to the boil before adding the rice and then leaving it for around 25mins or until the rice was “aldente” and still slightly chewy.

However you choose to cook your rice, I’m sure it will work out just fine! Now onto the rest of the salad.. chop your cherry tomatoes in half, chop up your big bunch of parsley and finely dice your red onion before adding them all to a large salad bowl along with the rice. Add your rinsed lentils and the currants and mix all the ingredients through really well.

In a small jug add your lime juice, tamari/soy sauce, a dash of olive oil (or sesame oil) and the sugar and stir well to combine. Pour over the salad and mix well. Just before serving you can add in your nuts/seeds so that they are nice and crunchy!

When you are almost ready to serve, heat a non stick frying pan, spray with olive oil and when it is nice and hot, place your salmon skin side down and leave to cook on that side for 3-4 mins, then flip over and cook the other side for 1-2mins. (the cooking times will obviously vary depending how thick your pieces of salmon are!)

And it’s serving time!! (Oh yeh and I should probably let you know that I actually made this salad for 2 but it could easily have fed 4 or maybe even 6 people!! oh well lots of left overs for me! yay!)

Enjoy!

A

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