Smoked Salmon Kedgeree with Spinach, Green Peas and Leek
Paella, risotto, biryani, bibimbap, fried rice, arroz con pollo. The world over, fluffy grains of rice shine in familiar classics — from Spain to Japan and nearly every culture between.
A product of the British occupation of India, kedgeree takes its origin from a simple rice and lentil dish called khichari. The Anglo-Indian colonials, apparently fond of rice dishes with lots of garnishes, often served small plates of cold cooked fish, onion, and hard-boiled eggs alongside more mildly spiced versions of khichari in their homes. Eventually everything merged into one bowl, the smoked fish and/or egg replacing lentils, and kedgeree was born.
While traditionally made with smoked haddock, I had smoked salmon. Other smoked, canned, or otherwise cooked fish will do in its place, such as cod, whitefish, trout, or even good-quality canned tuna or sardines. No leeks or spinach? Go for scallions, chives or regular bulb onion, and arugula, kale, chard, collards or even ruffly Napa cabbage. Play to your tastes, and to what the season offers.
What’s in it for me?
Basmati rice is longer than most of its counterparts and, like all rice, gluten-free. A 1/2-cup serving is a good source of manganese, antioxidant selenium, B vitamins, particularly folate, and provides about 5% of your iron DV and 2 grams protein. Alternatively, brown Basmati is widely available, and just as delicious with a deep, nutty flavor and robust texture. With the outer layers of bran intact, brown Basmati is a richer source of fiber, vitamins and minerals than white.
At only 127 calories, one 3-ounce cooked portion of salmon* provides 22 grams of high-quality complete protein, about 70% of your DV of selenium, and is a good source of several B vitamins, particularly B12. Recommendations for total daily omega-3 fatty acids range from 2 to 4 grams, and one serving of salmon offers roughly 2,000 mg (2 g). Regular intake of these healthy fats, especially EPA and DHA are associated not only with decreased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, dementia and other age-related cognitive declines, but also a decreased risk of postpartum depression in mothers, and may improve communication skills, visual acuity, and sleep patterns of their infants.
Both spinach and green peas are excellent sources of vitamins A and K*, a fair amount of folate and vitamin C, and are vegetarian sources of iron, calcium, and magnesium. Spinach also delivers the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin to help protect your eyes from age-related degeneration; and 1/2 cup of peas provides nearly 20% of your DV of fiber.
Leek, a relative of shallots, chives and garlic, provides a mild, almost sweet onion-y flavor, and is a source of the mineral sulfur required to synthesize the antioxidant glutathione — critical in controlling inflammation and helping your immune system fight infections.
Like other herbs and spices, the vitamins, minerals, and volatile oils in parsley and turmeric offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties to promote better health. In addition, parsley provides over half of your DV for vitamin K* per tablespoon; and research is looking at turmeric’s ability to improve memory for people who have pre-diabetes and are at risk for future cognitive decline.
Typically taken for breakfast, smoked salmon kedgeree can also be a hearty addition to brunch spreads, even a tasty, quick lunch or midweek supper being primarily composed of already cooked ingredients. It’s a healthy, beautifully balanced mix of flavors and color that is nothing short of comforting from summer (served cool or cold) to winter (served warm).
Tell me… Which is your favorite mixed rice dish from around the world?
- 14 oz. smoked salmon, trout, whitefish, or other firm cooked or canned fish, flaked into bite-sized pieces (see HGN Notes)
- 2 cups Basmati or other long-grain white or brown rice, cooked and cooled (see HGN Notes)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small leek, white and pale green parts only, well-rinsed and chopped
- 1/2 cup green peas, fresh or thawed from frozen
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, thicker stems discarded
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced
- In a large bowl, gently mix together the smoked or pre-cooked fish pieces with the cooked rice. Set aside.
- Heat the 1 tsp regular olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Add the leek, garlic and a tiny pinch of salt; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the peas, and cook another 1 to 2 minutes, just until warmed through. Be sure not to let the leeks brown. Remove the pan from the heat to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, turmeric, and a few cracks of black pepper.
- Add the vinaigrette, the cooled leek-pea-garlic mixture, plus the fresh spinach leaves to the bowl with the fish and rice, and toss to thoroughly combine. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed with pepper, lemon juice or salt. Scatter the chopped parsley over top. Serve in the mixing bowl, or transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Can be served cool as is, refrigerated to serve cold, or heated to serve warm.
+ Traditionally made with smoked haddock, any good smoked, canned or otherwise cooked fish will do in its place, such as cod, whitefish, trout, or even high-quality canned tuna or sardines. If using canned fish, put it in a strainer and give it a quick run under cool water to rinse off extra sodium and preservatives.
+ Go for scallions, chives or regular white onion in place of the leek, and arugula, kale, chard, collards or even ruffly Napa cabbage in lieu of spinach.
+ Use different herbs in place of the parsley, such as fresh thyme, tarragon, mint, rosemary, oregano, basil, or sage.
+ Add the traditional hard-boiled eggs (1 for every 2 people), or mix it up with sunny-side-up or poached eggs instead.
+ Cooked fava, edamame or lima beans would be a nice alternative to the green peas, as would thin French green beans, sugar snap pea pods, chopped asparagus, or mushrooms.
Recipe adapted from eat drink live.
*The recommendations for those on blood-thinners, such as Coumadin (or generic warfarin), is to be consistent with the amount of vitamin K eaten from day to day, as the two interact with one another. If you take any of these types of medications, be aware of the high vitamin K content found in peas, parsley, spinach and other leafy greens.
+ + + +
p.s. I love hearing from you! Check back if you ask a question, because I’ll answer it here.
And if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing. Thanks!