This salad idea came from a fabulous meal my girlfriend Jo prepared for me, and since then I’ve basically used salmon and brown rice as the foundation or a range of salads. This version, with the wasabi dressing is Japanese influenced but I’ve also prepared Lebanese versions using a sumac dressing or a more traditional mediterrean style salad.
Preparing healthy meals is not my default cooking position. Not to say that my kitchen style is one big, unhealthy, fry-up, but more often than not, my favourite meals do lean to the richer and more indulgent side (hello Duck Ragu and Pork Cutlet).
Every now and then however I do have the happy coincidence of creating a meal that just happens to be on the healthy side. This one is a cinch for a weekday filler.
SALMON & BROWN RICE SALAD WITH WASABI DRESSING (Serves 2)
200gm salmon steak
1 tbsp olive oil (or canola spray in non-stick)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 lebanese cucumber
1 spring onion
1 large handful of snow peas
1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tsp of wasabi
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsps. soy sauce (optional)
1. Prepare cucumber by cutting in half, scooping out seeds and slicing cucumber into slices on the diagonal.
2. Boil a small pot of salted water, trim snow peas, cut into threes on the diagonal and boil for less than a minute. Refresh in cold water so they don’t overcook and stay crunchy.
3. Slice spring onion, both white and green parts, on the diagonal.
4. To prepare the wasabi dressing: squeeze lime juice into a jar and then add all other ingredients. Give a good shake.
5. Heat olive oil in fry pan on medium-hot heat and add salmon steak skin side down. Cook for about 3 minutes until really crispy. Flip over and cook for a further 2 minutes.
6. When salmon is cooked remove skin from salmon and return to frypan for final crisping (or throw it out if you’re committed to keeping this healthy). Leave salmon to rest whilst you make the salad.
7. Combine the brown rice, cucumber, onion, snow peas, avocado and half of the sesame seeds. Add about ¾ of the dressing, season with salt and pepper and combine.
8. Dish out into serving bowls and top with flaked salmon on top. If you’re using the salmon skin, this should now be ‘crisped up’ so break into chips and sprinkle on top with remaining sesame seeds.
9. Drizzle remaining dressing over the top and enjoy!
VARIATIONS: To make a Lebanese influenced version of this salad, coat the salmon in sumac before frying. Make the dressing with lemon, olive oil, a tsp sumac and a ½ tsp honey. Replace snow peas with capsicum and replace sesame seeds with pine nuts. For a mediterrean version replace spring onions with Spanish onion, snow peas with capsicum, sesame seeds with feta cheese. Make a red wine dressing using red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and add a handful of chopped parsley in the salad.
WATCH OUTS: This recipe is pretty full proof but make sure you taste the dressing. The addition of wasabi can be a little concerning but it isn’t going to blow your head off – trust me. Go gently with it if you’re concerned. Go really gently with the soy sauce because it’s difficult to recover if you use too much.