Monday, June 14, 2010

Leftover Salmon Kedgeree

I have a thrifty streak that runs a mile wide. Recently I discovered that the local grocery store sells whole wildcaught salmon, and they go on sale for as low as $2.99/lb. How can I not buy one? But the catch: when I say whole salmon, I mean whole salmon. You only get this price when you take home the entire fish. As one can imagine, a 4 lb salmon + 2 person household = lots of leftovers. A day or two of baked salmon is lovely, but after that I start looking for ways to add a bit of excitement. For a while, the winning treatment was a pan-fried version of fish tacos, slicing the leftovers and frying them up with a homemade mixture of chili and spices. But the new favorite is salmon kedgeree.

Kedgeree is a traditional Indian pilaf, where seasoned rice is mixed with legumes. But when the Brits came over, they replaced the lentils with their beloved smoked haddock. The whole affair is spiced with curry seasonings, perked up with lemon juice and fresh cilantro, and served with hard-boiled eggs. For breakfast. Even a leftovers-in-the-morning fan like myself finds that a bit hard to swallow. But as a lunch or dinner, kedgeree is fantastic. Especially with salmon.

Sharp-eyed readers may note that a version of this recipe appeared on the website Food52 a few weeks ago, and I'm embarrassingly just getting around to posting it here now. The time, she does fly. And in another example of what I believe the kids call a "cross post," last week's sloppy sauce was featured on I'm ridiculously happy to see it sitting there in such a nice layout (and among such nice company).

Leftover Salmon Kedgeree

I came up with this recipe to use up leftovers, but it's good enough to make from scratch--just bake or poach a pound of salmon and start from there. The spinach isn't remotely traditional, but I can't resist adding some greens to make this a one-pot meal.

serves 4

1 Tbsp canola oil (or ghee, if you've got it)
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1-3 Tbsp Indian-style jarred curry paste, such as Patak's (if you don't have this, you can substitute 1-3 Tbsp curry powder (depending on your taste and the spiciness of your curry), mixed with a splash of oil and 1/2 tsp tomato paste)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, julienned or grated
~5 cups cooked long-grain white rice (yeah, my picture has overcooked short-grain brown rice, but long grain white would be better)
1 lemon, juiced
1 lb cooked salmon, flaked into bite-sized pieces
1/2 bunch spinach, washed, dried and roughly chopped (optional)
1 bunch cilantro, washed, dried and roughly chopped
yogurt for serving (optional)

Heat the oil or ghee over a medium-high flame in a heavy pan. When the oil is rippley-but-not-smoking, add the mustard seeds and cover. The seeds will sputter and pop.

When the popping has subsided, add the turmeric and curry paste or powder (start with the smaller amount). Let the seasonings toast for a few seconds, then add the onion, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent (~5 minutes).

When the onion is cooked, add the rice and stir gently but thoroughly to combine. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste, and more curry paste if desired. When it's seasoned to taste, add the salmon, spinach (if using), and ~ 3/4 of the cilantro, and stir gently to combine. Cook until the fish is warmed through and the spinach has wilted. Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve with yogurt if desired.


  1. Nearly 40 years ago my husband and I took the train from Minneapolis to Seattle. The train left six hours late and one hour into our journey they announced the dining car was "broken." Cold sandwiches and a Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner from one of the stops was all we had for two days. We arrived in Seattle at dawn and found a restaurant open at Pike's Place Market where we had kedgeree and hot Lapsang Souchong tea. Heaven. I put spinach in my kedgeree and sometime use wild rice. (I'm from Minnesota after all). The little intro to kedgeree in my food diary says: "I made this with leftovers but it's good enough to make on it's own."

  2. I'd scoop up one of those salmon, too at that price! This recipe is a good way to change things up when you have lots of leftovers!