19 August 2012

Small Plates: Garlicky Brown Rice with Salmon + Kale

After what feels like eons of sleeping in the homes of gracious guests, hotels, and on planes when possible, we are home, with no immediate travel plans. Ready for normalcy, for home-cooked, for time with our dogs who have been snuggling up to various (and wonderful) dog sitters off and on (def more on) for the past two months.

When we travel, it's way more difficult to funnel healthy meals into the baby bird's ever-open mouth; it's often a lot of bread, fruit dried and fresh, some ice cream here and there, and teeny tiny amounts of vegetables and meat picked out of stir-fries and soups.

I was nervous, after being gone so long, that he'd come back and refuse all things wholesome. Instead, he shoveled green peas, berries, tofu, curried lentils, and salmon with rice into that open mouth like he'd been waiting his whole little life for them.

I actually made the final item before our trip and tried unsuccessfully to convince a little mouth that it was an impressive dish. Defeated, I considered it a failure and froze it into cubes before we left for a month in the states. Magically, though, carb-loading piqued his appetite for fiber, greens, and omega-3 fatty acids, because he can't get enough of this stuff.

I suggest you make a big batch of this recipe, freeze with cautious optimism, and don't give up if you fail the first (or second or third) time; if your kid takes to it like mine did, you can go to bed feeling damn good about what you're sending into that little belly.

Note: I served this particular meal next to some Braeburn apple slices, and tofu cubes dusted in cornflour (corn starch) and thyme, then lightly sautéed on medium-high in olive oil. Cook up a triple batch of the tofu; I ended up snacking on a lot of it, and the recipe freezes remarkably well, flat and singly spaced out then transferred to a big freezer-friendly bag or container.


garlicky brown rice with salmon + kale 
  • 1 medium-large fillet wild salmon
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Enough brown rice to make 4 cups cooked (I used short grain basmati)
  • 1 1/2 cup thawed frozen chopped organic kale (or fresh, washed, blanched in boiling water for 20 seconds, and finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 2 tsp garlic powder
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cook rice according to package, and set aside.
  3. In a roasting pan, lay salmon fillet skin-down (pink side up) and drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil and all of the lemon juice over the top.
  4. With the oven door cracked, broil on middle rack for 5-10 minutes, or until fish is opaque all the way through and can be easily flaked off with fork. (Cooking time completely depends on your oven; check every minute or so so you don't end up with a really expensive charcoal briquette.) Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over med-low in a sauté pan, add garlic and onion powder, and sauté until fragrant (but not brown).
  6. Add kale and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. You don't want the bright green color to go away, so don't overdo it. 
  7. In a large bowl, toss together the kale and rice, then flake the salmon meat off the skin into the bowl with the rice mixture. Let cool in refrigerator overnight, then freeze into cubes or small glass containers (Pyrex makes perfect ones).