We ate salmon often when I was a kid growing up but I didn’t wake up to how really good this distinctive, pink-fleshed fish was until I went to work for a Japanese fishing company in Seattle. They brought freshly netted salmon down from Kotzebue, Alaska, which they sold mostly at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. Because the Kotzebue water is so cold, the salmon is especially delicious so when the company offered their employees terrific prices on the “fresh as it’s gonna get” fish, I stocked up and have been eating a steady diet of salmon ever since.
That was many years ago and in the meantime we’ve all learned the value of fish oils, which I feel is all the more reason to continue incorporating salmon into my diet. I’ve eaten salmon nearly every way known, but recently, while thumbing through some old cookbooks, I was inspired to create a recipe for Salmon Rice Casserole that’s a welcome wintertime change. This recipe is a great way to get your kids hooked on eating fish…yes, it’s that yummy.
Salmon Rice Casserole
1 to 1 1/2 cups salmon, broken into chunks
1 teaspoon low-sodium Cajun seasoning, optional
1 cup brown or white rice, cooked
1 to 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 small can chopped green chilies or 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 small can mushrooms, drained
1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom or celery soup
1 cup skim milk
1 1/4 cups potato or tortilla chips, coarsely crushed and separated
Cilantro for garnish, optional
Lime slices for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine salmon and rice; set aside. Sauté onion in butter; add green chilies (or bell pepper) and cook just enough to warm. Add sautéed ingredients to salmon rice mixture, and then stir in corn, mushrooms, soup, milk and 1 cup crushed tortilla chips.
Turn into a buttered casserole dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until chips are toasted and casserole is bubbling. Garnish with cilantro and lime slices, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings