Grilled Salmon on Wild Rice Pilaf with Roasted Vegetables Recipe

Have a taste for Copper River Salmon?  I know I do. Of all the fish out there, it’s quite exceptional.  I love this grilled salmon and wild rice pilaf recipe because the pairing brings to the table a variety of flavors that complement the grilled salmon quite well.  Good salmon is flaky and light and delicate – it’s great juxtaposed with wild rice, bringing a more chewy texture with toasty, nutty, earthy flavors and a nose that includes a hint of black tea.  Roasted vegetables also help capitalize on the toasty flavor of the wild rice.  It takes a great summer favorite in salmon, and gives it some hearty helpers to usher it into fall and winter.  When you’re ready to turn the page on summer and embrace the inevitability of winter, this is a good way to do it without turning to unhealthy comfort food options.

Ingredients:  (Serves 2)

Wild Rice – 1 Cup (makes about 3 cups cooked)

Chicken Broth (low sodium) – 3 cups

Water – ½ cup

2 Salmon Filets (skin-on)

Scallions – 1 bunch

Sliced white button mushrooms – 8 ounce container

4 large carrots

2 large parsnips

Lemon juice (or fresh squeezed)

3 Rosemary Sprigs

Salt (Standard, sea, kosher, your choice)

Fresh Ground Pepper

Olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon.

Notes:

Wild Rice Pilaf can be labor intensive.  It takes attention mostly.  There are several wild rice varieties and quality levels, and they can all cook slightly differently.  Mostly this is a matter of time on the stovetop, and perhaps how much water you will need.  Simply watch and taste.  Ideally, I like the kernels of wild rice to be cracking open, but not be split wide open and curled too much. It is ok to have some of that, but it depends on the texture you want.  You may need to add water, or you may need to add time.

Wild rice that is left more intact can be a bit al dente, and it creates a nice chewy texture.  If it is split wide open and heavily curled, it can be a bit mushy.  But this isn’t bad if it dry.  I prefer it just where most all of the kernels are just split open. Experiment with this and enjoy!

You will have a fair bit of time between starting the pilaf and vegetables and when you need to start the salmon.  This is a great time for any additional prep and to get the plating process ready to happen.  Alternatively, it can be a solid 30 minutes for you to watch the hockey game.  That’s my choice. 🙂

 Instructions:

  1. Get that pilaf going! In a stock pot, add water, chicken broth and 1 teaspoon of salt, start on high and bring to a boil. Once it hits boiling, add the cup of wild rice. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook.   Your cooking time will likely be between 50 minutes and 1.5 hours.  That’s a large window, I know – but it’s entirely dependent on the rice itself.
  2. After about 30 minutes of cooking, add the button mushrooms and some fresh ground black pepper to the stock pot.
  3. Prepare the carrots and Parsnips. It’s your choice if you peel the carrots and parsnips. I have come to the point where I don’t.  The skins contain a lot of nutrients that are worth leaving on.   So I clean the vegetables thoroughly and slice them into manageable pieces (see picture) for roasting.
  4. Place prepared carrots and parsnips in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix up the contents of the bowl so that the olive oil gets thoroughly distributed.
  5. Spread the carrots and parsnips on a cookie sheet and add 3 sprigs of rosemary. The rosemary is just for the roasting, so discard it when finished.  Roast in your oven, on a middle rack, at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.  Start checking the vegetables after about 30 mins. We want to make sure they get done to your taste.
  6. Wild rice PilafWith about 15 minutes to go on the pilaf, Slice the scallions into small pieces and add to the pilaf.
  7. Prepare the salmon by adding lemon juice and light dusting of salt and pepper – but only if you like that on your salmon. Many people prefer it plain.
  8. Time cooking the salmon to when your pilaf is pretty much done Start grill and heat to medium-high.
  9. Put salmon on, skin side down. A 1 inch thick piece of salmon will cook in 10 minutes.  After about 6 minutes the salmon will release itself from the grill, telling you it is done on that side and ready to be flipped. Use a spatula to carefully flip the salmon and cook the presentation side (skinless side) until it is finished.
  10. Let the salmon rest for a minute or two while you plate up the wild rice pilaf and roasted vegetables.
  11. Serve and Enjoy!

Options:

  1. It is not necessary to flip the salmon – you can cook it without flipping. Watch for the salmon to just start to release its fat – little white opaque beads. When you see this, it means the salmon is just nearing the point of being overcooked.  We don’t want to go any farther than that.
  2. Include slices of lemon on the grill and fresh dill sprigs to serve with the salmon for presentation.

 

Pro Tips:

  • roast broccoli florets in the mix of vegetables for a touch of green to the meal.  Visually, it makes the plated meal really pop.
  • For a broader flavor profile, add sauteed onions or almond slivers to the pilaf!
  • Remember – you are managing 3 primary cooking times here: 1 hour-ish for the pilaf, 45 mins for the roasted vegetables and 10ish minutes for the salmon.  Time everything to finish together.

 

Calories:

1 ounce of grilled salmon is about 48 calories.  So a 4 ounce filet will be 192 calories

1 cup of cooked wild rice is 166 calories

White mushrooms 8oz is 20 calories.

½ cup of green onions is about 20 calories.

Roasted carrots and parsnips will be about 28 calories per ounce.  1 cup is about 5.3 ounces.

40 calories total for the olive oil.

 

So for half of what you just made:

Salmon: 192 calories

1.5 cups of wild rice : 249 calories

White Mushrooms: 10 calories

Green onions: 10 calories

Roasted carrots and parsnips (8oz) about 1.5 cups, 224 calories.

Total calories:  685

 

You can learn more about nutrition and preparing healthy meals here.

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