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Author Notes: Over the past year, I have really enjoyed experimenting with flavor combos that incorporate sweet and savory in somewhat unexpected ways. This summer, I made a savory pluot jam that juxtaposed the sweetness of the pluots with roasted jalapeno, coriander and cinnamon. Yum. Here, I use coconut and vanilla to infuse both the salmon and accompanying brown rice. Hints of cardamom and the addition of toasted pistachios at the end add depth, and we love this. Plus it's always nice to take salmon in a different direction! —em-i-lis
Makes 2 generous main dish servings
For the coconut-vanilla brown rice
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2-3 green cardamom pods, gently cracked
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half crosswise (you're going to use half for the salmon so just set it aside)
- 1 cup long grain brown rice
- 1/4 cup raw pistachios, toasted and finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 415°. In a 1.5 or 2 quart saucepan with a lid, put the coconut milk, water, cracked cardamom pods, and salt. Scrape clean half of the vanilla bean and add all you can remove to the milk mixture. Reserve the cleaned pods for the salmon.
- Cover the pot and heat to a boil. When boiling, add the brown rice, cover, lower the heat to a soft simmer, and cook 26-28 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- Cool a few minutes and stir in the toasted and chopped pistachios.
For the roasted vanilla salmon
- 1 pound salmon (not steak; use a filet), preferably sustainably caught or farmed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons coconut milk
- the scraped innards of the other half of the vanilla bean (again, reserve the pods)
- Meanwhile, make the salmon. In a small pot, stir together the coconut milk and all you can scrape from the remaining half of your vanilla bean. Heat over medium-low until the milk is just warm, remove from heat and let steep for just a bit.
- Rinse and pat dry the salmon and then sprinkle with the cardamom, more salt than you think and some fresh pepper. Place the seasoned salmon on a large sheet of foil (you're going to roast it in a foil packet) that you've put on a baking sheet, and casually fold up three of the sides. Carefully pour the vanilla-infused coconut milk over the salmon and then lay the four vanilla bean quarters over the top of the fish. Finish sealing the foil packet, and slide the pan into the preheated oven. Cook for about 25 minutes, until the temp of the salmon is 138°.
- Cut the salmon filet in half and serve with the rice. Enjoy immediately.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Vanilla