It’s about to get all fancy shmancy up in heeerrrrrrrre.
From time to time, I’ll crawl Pinterest and discover recipes that look like they’ve taken hours to put together. While impressive and mouthwatering, the realist in me knows that there’s no way I’d last trying to replicate these – especially if I was hungry while doing so. However, recently I was at a sushi restaurant that had beautiful presentation, and it got the wheels turning in my head about how to master an idea that’s been in the back of my mind for a while now.
That idea was a tower. A seafood tower of some kind, featuring salmon and avocado because they’re two of the most delish foods ever – in my opinion, anyway.
The timing was perfect because a box of goodies from Raincoast Trading had just landed on my doorstep the week prior. I’ve been almost 100% pescetarian for a couple of years now, but I’d say I’m also a far more eco-conscious pescetarian since moving to BC. The reality is that seafood has its fair share of sustainability issues, and when it comes to actually getting seafood from its source to grocery store shelves, often the nutritional content of the fish has fallen. All the more reason to get to know where your food comes from, right?
Admittedly, I’d heard of Raincoast Trading before and knew that it was a Vancouver-based, OceanWise recommended brand. (Follow the link to learn more, but in short, the OceanWise symbol on a product or restaurant menu is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice.) What I didn’t know was that the company’s tuna and salmon are only cooked once during the canning process, which means the fish retains up to 8x the amount of omega 3 fatty acids compared to other brands. Pretty impressive, right?
Nutrition aside, the no salt added sockeye salmon seemed like the perfect candidate for my seafood tower experiment. I thought long and hard about how to make the towers successfully stick together. Did I need a special cylinder mold? A really tall cookie cutter? A short glass? Should I find a can where I can take the lid off both ends with a can opener? (Not all cans work this way, just FYI.) Then it occurred to me.
A simple measuring cup was the perfect size and I already had one – you probably do too! You’ll notice when you take a look at the recipe below that the instructions look long, but trust me when I say this is quite possibly one of the easiest recipes you can make that looks like it took ages to put together. For those that prefer pictures over words, here’s the process from start to finish:
And then, with one swift tip over onto a plate and a firm tap on the bottom of the measuring cup…
Voila! I’m not going to lie, I was completely wowed that this actually worked on the first try. To make them look even more beautiful, top each tower with a little shrimp and some pea shoots, and you’re done. There’s really nothing difficult about it, but I will give you 2 tips:
- Add a little rice vinegar to the brown rice after it’s done cooking – this helps it stick together
- Make sure you firmly press down on the salmon and rice layers – again, this will help with the stickage factor
Oh, and you can also drizzle some of the extra red curry sauce or sriracha (or both!) on top, but genius over here totally forgot and only realized this while editing photos afterwards. Saucy or sauce-less, I guarantee these will not disappoint!
Coconut Red Curry Salmon Towers
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Ingredients (2 servings)
For the coconut rice (you will probably have some leftover):
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup canned light coconut milk
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
For the red curry sauce:
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 1/3 cup pureed silken tofu or plain non-dairy yogurt
For the rest:
- 1 can Raincoast Trading No Salt Added Sockeye Salmon
- 1/4 cup green onions, diced,
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
- 1/2 avocado, peeled and diced into small cubes
- pea shoots and cooked shrimp, to garnish
- sriracha sauce (optional)
In a small pot, cook the rice in the water and coconut milk. Place the pot over high heat for 15 minutes, then stir the rice and turn the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the red curry sauce by blending the tofu (or yogurt) and curry paste in a blender until completely smooth. Transfer it to a jar or squeezable bottle.
When the rice has finished cooking, drain any excess liquid and stir in the rice vinegar, which will help make it sticky. Set aside.
Slice the remaining ingredients as indicated above. In a small bowl, mix together the salmon, green onions and about 3 tbsp of the red curry sauce with a fork.
Grease a measuring cup with coconut oil or cooking spray. Layer a few cucumber slices in a spiral around the bottom of the cup.
Next, add enough small avocado pieces to cover the cucumber layer. The cup should be about half full.
Scoop half of the salmon mixture into the measuring cup and press it down firmly with the back of a fork or the bottom of another measuring cup.
Finally, fill the remaining space with rice. Again, press it down firmly.
When ready to serve, quickly flip the measuring cup over onto a plate. Tap the bottom with your hand or the back of a utensil to ensure the cucumber doesn’t get stuck, then gently lift it up.
Repeat for the second tower.
Garnish each with shrimp and a few pea shoots. Drizzle leftover red curry sauce on top if desired, and serve.
Note: You may have some ingredients leftover, which can be used to make similar towers in smaller measuring cups.
So tell me…
- What recipes do you like to make that look fancy but aren’t difficult to put together?
- What’s your favourite way to use canned salmon?