This healthful and elegant dish is perfect when you’re looking to impress. The rich salmon is heart-healthy and full of omega-3s while the brown rice adds a heartiness and richness with added coconut milk. Try using different colored papayas for this recipe — everything from red to bright yellow lends it a dramatic presentation.
Blend ginger, soy sauce, garlic, chile, peanuts and sesame oil in food processor, then place into shallow baking dish. Cut salmon into four equal pieces. add to the bowl and marinate for 2 to 3 hours.
Heat water, lite coconut milk and rice in a large pot. When at a boil, reduce heat and cover to simmer – do not stir! Check rice after about 50 minutes cooking time. When rice reaches optimal tenderness, uncover pot and stir to allow remaining liquid to evaporate. Add the regular coconut milk, lemongrass, rice syrup and fish sauce. Stir and cook until a creamy risotto-like texture results. Remove the lemongrass and turn off the heat. Keep covered on the stove until salmon has been cooked.
Meanwhile, prepare papaya salsa by stirring together papaya, lime juice and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro until papaya is well-coated. Set aside. Then make the cilantro oil garnish by blending 1/2 cup olive oil and 3/4 cup cilantro until completely smooth. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine strainer to remove most of the remaining cilantro. Oil should be cloudy and green with extremely fine cilantro in suspension. Set aside.
When you're ready to cook the salmon, heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and bring to high heat. Remove the salmon from the marinade, leaving the peanut mixture as a light coating on the filets. Fry both sides of the salmon, leaving the middle just barely raw (see additional notes) and pink. Remove each piece from the skillet and place on a plate, set aside.
To assemble, place 3/4 cup rice on the center of each plate, then place a filet of salmon on the rice. Top with salsa and drizzle a few teaspoons of the cilantro oil on the plate and salmon. Garnish with extra cilantro and lemongrass, if desired.
Raw and undercooked fish, meat and poultry can lead to food-borne illness.