A few months ago while out to dinner with my dad, I ordered something that he considered unusual for me: salmon and rice. Not that salmon or rice alone or together are unusual choices; it’s just that at this particular restaurant I always order the same thing: the Arugula Burger. This restaurant’s Arugula Burger is the best burger in the immediate area if not in all locations and all of time. Cooked to order, it comes with thick sliced bacon, baby arugula, cheese and crispy onion strings. If I really concentrate, I can eat the entire thing. Just kidding. It’s easy to wolf the thing down.
Dad and I visit the restaurant so often when he’s in town that I’m the duchess on Yelp at 70-something check-ins (over the space of four or five years). We usually go once a week, sometimes more often. And it’s in those times when we go more than once a week that I don’t feel like I should be wolfing down a massive burger twice in a matter of days.
So one particular evening when we stopped to eat there, their special board advertised the dinner special as salmon and forbidden rice topped with mango salsa. I love salmon and I love rice and I love mango (not necessarily in salsa but) I thought I would give it a whirl.
Sometimes when I diverge from my normal menu item I end up disappointed. It’s rare, because almost everything this restaurant serves is fantastic, but it happens. Sometimes I end up liking the dish but feeling dissatisfied. This instance was different. The salmon and rice dish was perfection because of the mango salsa on top. I was totally pleased with my selection and completely satisfied.
So satisfied that I vowed to make the dish at home someday. Of course months went by where I intended to recreate the dish at home and never did. Then recently when I decided to make cantaloupe salsa, it seemed like the perfect time to recreate the dish I had fallen in love with.
- 2 5-oz pieces of halibut, skin on
- avocado oil
- kosher salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Southwest or blackened seasoning
- 1 c. dry forbidden (black) rice
- 1 c. cantaloupe salsa
- Soak rice in some warm water and rinse and drain. Repeat three more times. Cook rinsed rice according to package directions or using a rice cooker on the brown rice setting.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place halibut skin-side down onto a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with avocado oil (or another high smoke-point oil). Season generously with salt, pepper and seasoning.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until halibut flakes easily when tested with a fork.
- When rice is done cooking, scoop some rice into a bowl. Top with baked halibut. Scoop approximately ½ cup of cantaloupe salsa on top of the fish. Serve immediately.