Sticky Brown Rice Crusted Salmon

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Recipe from Lauren Chandler, Chef Instructor, MSW


We’re coming into steelhead and salmon season, and living in the Northwest, we’re lucky to have these delicious fish right in our backyard. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit brain and heart health and offer protection to joints and connective tissues.

The recipe below works well with salmon or steelhead. I love how the crunchy chewy texture of the rice complements the tender soft texture of the fish. If you don’t eat fish or are feeding folks who don’t, let this recipe inspire you to make rice cakes. You can still get the omega-3s in there by simply adding a couple of tablespoons of ground flax seeds and/or finely chopped walnuts – both are actually higher in omega-3s than the fish. Feel free to add those two ingredients to the rice if you are using it to crust the fish, as well.

Here’s how to make the rice cakes:

Omit the honey and the fish, reserve the coconut oil for cooking the cakes, and double the quantity of the rest of the ingredients. Once the rice is cooked, mix all of the remaining ingredients with the rice and form cakes, then cook in a skillet as you would the fish, and finish off under the broiler until golden. And now, for the fish recipe:


Serves 4

1/3 cup uncooked sweet sticky brown rice (I like Lundberg Farms Sweet Brown Rice, which is available in the bulk bins of most Whole Foods Markets)

2 tablespoon partially ground coriander seeds

2 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning fish

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning fish

Zest and juice of one lemon

4 portions of salmon or steelhead, 1/3 pound each

1 tablespoon coconut oil


Place the rice in a small pot with 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes with lid in place.

Turn the broiler on high.

Transfer the rice to a medium-sized bowl and mix with the coriander, sesame seeds, honey, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the fish, then distribute the rice mixture in an even layer on top to form the crust. Use all of the rice – the crust should be about ¼-inch thick.

In a large heavy-bottom oven-proof skillet (I prefer cast iron) over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil. Carefully add the salmon skin side down without overcrowding the pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until you can see the bottom ¼ – 1/3 of the fish is cooked. The color should turn a paler pink.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil for 3-4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and the rice starts to turn golden brown and crunchy. Remove from the oven and squeeze lemon juice over the top of the fish before serving.

 Note – if you do not own an oven-proof skillet, transfer the fish from skillet to a baking dish before broiling.

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