The air is softening and the evenings are beginning to grow long: spring is on its merry way to the Bay Area. Hard as it is to believe, the first day of the new season is only a week away and the world seems like it’s already waking up. Once the painful novelty of the time change fades, the days bring with them the renewed memory of sunlight on bare skin, the promises of barbecue and cold beer, and the pleasure inherent in recognizing that another winter has safely passed.
It’s on days like this – days when you remember the summers of your youth and it seems nearly possible that this one will somehow attain the same simple grandeur – that you start to dream of coming home and kicking off your shoes as soon as the clock strikes noon. It’s days like this when you start fantasizing about dinners of fresh vegetables and ice-cold drinks as soon as you finish lunch. Days like this, you search your favorite food blogs for inspiration. This time, Food52 delivered the goods. Caramelized, roasted sweet potato hearkens back to the quickly-passing winter; fresh salmon recalls the exhilarating days vacationing along the Northern Californian coast; flavors of Sriracha and coconut invoke the satisfaction of a spicy Thai curry on the hottest summer night. All in all, not a bad choice.
The meal is also ideal for a workday dinner because it’s a breeze (you’ll wish I were being literal since that oven gets warm – just imagine you’re on a tropical beach somewhere). Simply put the rice on to cook while you prep everything and then let it sit. The sauce is whipped up from a handful of relatively common ingredients and tossed with all of the components of the meal. With salmon sizzling and two starving girls salivating eagerly, the meal came together quickly. Once everything is tender and roasted, you just pull it out of the oven and toss it all together.
Crispy Coconut Kale with Roasted Salmon and Coconut Rice (Serves 4)
– Food52 from Bloom & Nourish
- 1 cup jasmine rice, uncooked
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari) (we used soy sauce, which produced equally delicious results)
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 3 sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, ribs removed and sliced into strips (we used half a bag of Trader Joe’s standard)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (again working with what TJ’s has to offer, we crushed coconut chips and substituted these)
- 1 to 1 1/2 pound salmon, sliced into 4 fillets
- Rinse rice in cold water and drain. Place in a saucepan with coconut milk, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce to the lowest heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes, or until ready to serve (it will stay warm for up to an hour).
- While the rice is cooking, heat oven to 400° F. In a lidded jar, combine the melted coconut oil, sesame oil, coconut aminos, and Sriracha. Seal the jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.
- Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a tablespoon of melted coconut oil and sprinkle with paprika. Toss to coat. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender.
- Place kale and coconut flakes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with about 2/3 of the dressing. Toss until well coated.
- Drizzle salmon with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining dressing. Bake the salmon and coconut kale mixture during the last 15 minutes of the sweet potato’s baking time, or until cooked through, being careful not to let the kale burn.
- Remove sweet potatoes, salmon, and kale from oven. Serve over fluffed rice with an extra drizzle of dressing.