It's Lent. Which means many are going to be eating a lot of fish, thanks to Friday night fish fries.
If you'd rather avoid the crowds and prepare seafood at home, consider a quick and easy stir fry.
Simple and satisfying, this colorful rice dish stars salmon, a heart-healthy fish you don't often find at church fish fires. It includes lots of fresh, crunchy veggies to make it more healthful.
One reason this dish works so well, besides being dairy- and gluten-free, is because it's customizable: If you don't like salmon, substitute 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp. The same with the veggies -- use whatever's languishing in your crisper -- and garlic, which some (me) can't get enough of and others steer clear of to avoid heartburn and bad breath.
Don't worry about using day-old rice. It actually crisps up better than freshly made rice because the dry grains remain separate and absorb more seasoning. I made the dish with brown rice since it's more nutritious, and removed the skin from the fish.
SALMON FRIED RICE
1 pound skinless salmon, cut into bite-sized chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil, divided
2 large eggs, whisked
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 medium carrots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cold cooked white or brown rice
Toasted sesame seeds or Everything Bagel seasoning, for garnish
Handful of chopped cilantro, for garnish
Pickled ginger, for serving
Gluten-free soy sauce or tamari, for serving
If salmon is refrigerated, remove it from fridge 15 minutes prior to cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or deep saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add cubed salmon and let it brown on opposite sides until opaque or flaky, 4-5 minutes. Don't overcrowd the pan; you may need to cook fish in batches.
When salmon is done, transfer to a plate. Remove pan from heat and wipe out with a paper towel, removing any burnt bits.
Place the pan back over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of remaining oil. When fish is hot, stir in eggs. When eggs are finished cooking, about 1 minute, transfer to a plate.
Keeping the pan over medium or medium-high heat, add green onion, carrots, snow peas and red pepper, and cook for about 1 minute, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add garlic and stir-fry another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to pan and then the cooked rice, stirring constantly to combine the veggies and garlic with the rice.
When rice is hot, add eggs back to pan and break them up with a spatula to combine with the rice. Remove the pan from heat, and gently fold in the salmon.
Transfer fried rice to a platter or individual plates and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro. Serve with pickled ginger and tamari or soy sauce.
Serves 3 to 4.
-- Adapted from "For the Love of Seafood: 100 Flawless, Flavorful Recipes That Anyone Can Cook" by Karista Bennett (Countryman Press, $35)