This delicious black rice salad with pomegranate, kale and blood orange pairs brilliantly with simple pan-fried The Saucy Fish Co.’s salmon. A light drizzle Saucy Fish’s of limited-edition Saucy Number 5 aphrodisiac sauce and you have the perfect Valentine’s Day treat
In collaboration with The Saucy Fish Co.
Let’s talk Valentine’s Day… Specifically let’s talk about eating out on Valentine’s Day. Here’s my advice: don’t do it. Any other day of the year – apart from pretty much the entire month of December – and you are fine. Book away.
Valentine’s Day is a dreadful time to go to a restaurant – and whenever my husband and I have attempted it we always end up in a fight! Much better to stay home and seduce your valentine with a delicious home-cooked fancy dinner.
And when I say fancy, I don’t mean try to make an elaborate three course meal, unless you happen to be a chef. Keep things simple but delicious and you can’t fail to impress. And perhaps have a helping hand from The Saucy Fish Co. 😉
Take this black rice salad… it’s so simple and yet extremely eye catching and, yes, beautiful to look at. But if you are wondering ‘what the heck is black rice’ then read on!
What is black rice?
Black rice is sometimes also referred as ‘forbidden rice’ – and here’s a nice way to add a little saucy zing to this recipe – just call it ‘forbidden rice salad’ 😉
Forbidden rice has grown in China for centuries. Until the 1800s it was cultivated strictly for the emperor and the nobility and so ‘forbidden’ to others.
In Europe, black rice is usually an Italian cultivar called riso venere (Venus rice). Still in with the Valentine’s theme then! It is a (non GMO) hybrid of Chinese forbidden rice and pretty widely available.
Black rice is packed with goodness – rich in antioxidants, nutrients and fibre – and has a lovely nutty, slightly sweet taste. It works really well in salads and pairs especially well with seafood.
Black rice VS wild rice
Black rice and wild rice are not the same thing – in fact wild rice is not rice at all but a type of grass grown in North America. Wild rice has a similarly nutty taste and you could use it in this salad in place of black rice.
How to cook black rice
Black rice takes longer to cook than white rice but it uses the same method. Simply bring to the boil with about double the volume of water and simmer for around 40 minutes. Drain and cool before using.
You can cook black rice in the Instant Pot – I found that it needed 30 minutes at high pressure with natural pressure release. The rice was cooked but still retained its texture – I made a big batch to use in my lunches through the week.
Black rice salad
Once your rice is cooked you can use it as a base for salads. It pairs well with citrus and fruit in general – think grapes, apples and pomegranate.
I used pomegranate seeds, segmented blood oranges, spring onions, baby kale and chopped walnuts to create a seriously addictive salad that will have you coming back for more… Just as well it is so darned healthy!
How to pan-fry salmon
I adore salmon – I think I eat it 2-3 times a week at this point. It cooks quickly, it’s healthy and it can be dressed up or down depending on your mood. It pairs brilliantly with the black rice salad and looks so striking against the dark grains.
The trick to truly delicious salmon is not to overcook it. Follow these steps for pan-fried salmon success!
Step 1. Pat the salmon fillets dry using kitchen towel. Season with salt and pepper and ideally leave to come to room temperature before cooking.
Step 2. Put a little oil in a non stick frying pan. Turn heat to medium-high and wait until the oil shimmers and you feel warmth coming off of the pan when you hold your hand about 4 inches above it.
Step 3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the salmon, skin side down. Press down on the fillets gently with a slotted fish spatula for about 10 seconds to help it retain its shape.
Step 4. Cook for 5-6 minutes – the skin should now be crispy and salmon easy to flip. Use the spatula to gently flip the fillets and cook until the flesh is nicely coloured, about 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and rest for 3 minutes.
Have you made my black rice salad?
Black rice salad with pan-fried salmon
For the pan fried salmon
- 4 Saucy Fish Co. salmon fillets
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil
- Salt and pepper to season
For the black rice
- 200 g | 1 cup black rice
- 250 ml | 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the black rice salad
- Cooked black rice
- 2 blood oranges
- 120 g | 1/2 cup baby kale
- 1/2 tsp rapeseed oil
- 1 pomegranate , seeds only
- Small bunch spring onions
- Handful walnuts , roughly chopped
- Dried chilli flakes to garnish
- The Saucy Fish Co. Saucy Number 5 , to serve
- orange zest, to garnish
- Start by making the black rice. Rinse the rice and drain. Put the rice, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for around 40 minutes until rice is cooked. Drain and cool. To cook in the Instant Pot add all the ingredients and cook for 30 minutes at high pressure. Allow pressure to release naturally then drain and cool.
- Stir fry the baby kale with a little rapeseed oil until just tender – about 2 minutes. Alternatively you can steam in the microwave - follow pack instructions.
- Slice the green onions into very thin slivers.
- Segment the oranges: slice off the top and bottom of the orange using a sharp knife. Slice the skin away from the flesh, removing the white pith and discard. Cut between the membranes to segment the orange, reserving any juice.
- Put the rice, kale, pomegranate seeds, spring onions and chopped walnuts into a bowl and toss to combine. If you have any reserved orange juice stir it in now.
- Prepare the salmon: pat the fillets dry using kitchen towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- Put the rapeseed oil in a non stick frying pan. Turn heat to medium-high and wait until the oil shimmers and you feel warmth coming off of the pan when you hold your hand about 4 inches above it.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add the salmon, skin side down. Press down on the fillets gently with a slotted fish spatula for about 10 seconds.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes – the skin should now be crispy and salmon easy to flip. Use the spatula to gently flip the fillets and cook until the flesh is nicely coloured, about 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and rest for 3 minutes.
- Divide the salad between two plates and scatter with the blood orange segments.
- Top with the salmon and drizzle with the The Saucy Fish Co. Saucy Number 5. Sprinkle with the chilli flakes and orange zest. Serve immediately!