Salmon is one of those pliant proteins that you can successfully cook almost any way you want. Sear it hot and fast, until the skin crisps and the fillet browns. Roast it low and slow, covered in olive oil until it collapses into a silky confit. Or swathe it in aromatics and steam it, letting it cook gently while it suffuses with flavor. It’s all good: Salmon’s happy to go with the flow.
For this one-pot salmon and rice dish, I went the steaming route because it is the easiest way to get dinner on the table and can be the most flavorful.
The idea started with a pot of coconut rice, a staple side at our house that we sometimes eat plain and pristine, and other times zipped up with spices and vegetables. Since there was an open can of green curry paste in the fridge, I added some to the rice, along with a handful of spinach, scallions and loads of cilantro.
Usually, while a pot of rice simmers, I’ll separately cook whatever protein we’re having, be it a sheet pan of chicken or sausages, or a couple of skillet-fried eggs.
But since salmon’s so easygoing, draping the fillets right on top of the rice to steam struck me as the simplest way to go, with the fewest dishes to wash afterward.
I coated the salmon with the rest of the green curry. After the rice had cooked about halfway, I added the fish to the pot, covered it and let it slowly cook until everything was done at the same time. It made for a zero-fuss weeknight meal that, because of the lively depth of flavor from the curry paste, tasted a lot more elaborate than it really was.
Bear in mind that different brands of rice absorb water differently, so their cooking times can vary. If your rice looks dry or starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, be sure to add more water. On the other hand, if the salmon is done before the rice, just transfer the fish to a plate, tent with an overturned bowl or foil to keep warm, and continue to cook the rice until done.