Friday, March 27, 2009

Thai salmon, speckled butter beans, and the perfect brown rice

Thai salmon, speckled butter beans, and the perfect brown rice, adapted from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
I love Thai food, and I love southern food. I wouldn't normally think of them going together, but I decided to throw some speckled butter beans into a Thai dish, and I think I might be on to something. I suppose you can throw anything in coconut milk and curry paste and it'll be good, but I'm especially fond of this one. And I found my new favorite way to prepare rice!

Thai salmon, speckled butter beans, and brown rice (adapted from "Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way" by Lorna Sass)

1/2 can light coconut milk
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen speckled butter beans, thawed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice*
8 oz. thin salmon filets
1 green onion, chopped
lime for garnish

Blend coconut milk and curry paste in a large skillet. Add bell pepper and bring to a boil over medium-high. Add in butter beans and rice and return to a boil. Then add salmon on top of the rice mixture, cover, and cook until the fish flakes (about 5 min). Break up the salmon into chunks, add green onion, and stir together. Garnish with lime. Serves 2.

*Ok, I've heard Lynne talk about the "pasta method" of cooking rice several times on The Splendid Table, and kept meaning to try it. Then the other day I ran across more detailed instructions on Saveur and knew I had to give it a shot. Basically you bring a bunch of salted water to a boil, add brown rice, and let boil uncovered for 30 min. Then you drain the rice, put it back into the pot, cover, and let steam for 10 min. This was perfect. It takes less time, doesn't require any measurement, and the rice comes out perfectly (no sogginess, and no dried out rice). The only potential downside is that you lose a little bit of the nutrients in the cooking water, but it's probably not much (and still much better than eating white rice!). I think I'm a convert! Lynne says that you can do this with any type of rice, but obviously the cooking time will be different, so keep an eye on it and drain it when it gets tender (I think white rice takes less than 10 min).

As I said before, I really liked the Thai theme with the slight southern twist. This was also incredibly easy and quick. I cooked the rice the day before, so it took less than 10 min from start to fish. Perfect for a busy day!

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