When considering foods that taste good as leftovers, lasagna, chili and the Thanksgiving turkey likely come to mind. Fish, not so much.
Once cooked, however, leftover seafood can be safely stored in the refrigerator for three to four days and has the potential to lay the groundwork for a healthy and satisfying meal.
I wrote about Anna Echo-Hawk Sauder of Kwee-Jack Fish Co. in last week’s recipe for Grilled Teriyaki Salmon. She and her fisherman brother Joe sell shares of wild Alaskan Sockeye as part of a local co-op, and Anna recently said that some people are hesitant to purchase the salmon simply because the fish is individually packaged as whole fillets.
Prepackaged food of any type can present a challenge when cooking for one or two, but the following Asian-inspired bowls offer an appealing way to enjoy leftover salmon. A friend of mine who subscribes to the cook-once-eat-twice philosophy coined the term “intentional leftovers,” which I rather like. That said, for added flexibility, the recipe is written to allow for the use of uncooked salmon as well.
The highlight of this flexible, easy-to-assemble meal lies in its balance of textures and flavors as well as its combination of hot and cold elements. Chopping all of the ingredients ensures that each bite includes a mix of the delicious components.
When planning for leftovers that will be served warm—cold salmon is delicious, too—I like to slightly undercook the fish so that it’s less likely to overcook and become dry when reheated. (The same can be said for steak, by the way.)
Health professionals often advise that, for good health, we should eat certain types of fish regularly. So how much is ideal? The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat omega-3-rich fish, such as wild salmon, at least two times per week. The recommended serving size for fish is 3.5 ounces cooked—which is similar in size to a deck of cards or 3/4 cup of flaked fish.
For those who aren’t regular fish eaters, this goal may be easier to attain when a little extra is cooked the first time around. A simple way we enjoy leftover salmon (my kids included) is to break it into chunks and place on a roll that has been spread with mayo and a drizzle of sriracha sauce, adding cucumber slices for crunch.
Likewise, one of the very first recipes I shared on this blog—Corn and Cucumber Salad with Basil and Chives—becomes a complete meal when leftover salmon is added. The recipe is a reader and family favorite for its fresh taste and ease of preparation and makes a satisfying lunch or light dinner. I also have a recipe for Teriyaki Salmon Wraps that my kids rate highly and have even prepared themselves.
Yields 4 servings.
- 4 (4 to 5-ounce) salmon fillets (thawed if frozen; leftover salmon may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, divided use (I love this homemade option)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa or rice, cooked according to package directions*
- 1 cup chopped greens of choice (baby spinach, kale and leaf lettuce all work well)
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced or chopped veggies of choice**
- 1 avocado, peeled and diced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds or 2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
- Place the uncooked salmon and 1/4 cup of the teriyaki sauce in a zip-top bag. (If using leftover salmon, skip this step and proceed to assembling the bowls.) Flip the salmon to evenly coat, and marinate for approximately 30 minutes. Drain the marinade and discard. Preheat a grill or sauté pan over medium heat, and then cook the salmon for 2-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness of fish and your preferred degree of doneness.
- Divide the lettuce among 4 bowls, followed by the quinoa or rice and the assorted veggies. Place a portion of the salmon on top of each bowl, drizzle with the remaining teriyaki sauce, and sprinkle with the sesame or sunflower seeds.
- Serve immediately. (I like to break up the salmon and give everything a good mix to distribute the sauce and combine all of the components.)
- * One cup of uncooked rice or quinoa yields roughly 3 cups cooked. This will allow 3/4 cup per serving. Feel free to experiment with different grains. May be prepared in advance and reheated.
- **In the summer, I typically choose no-cook options like cucumbers, sugar peas, bell pepper and radishes. Steamed broccoli and edamame complement these versatile bowls, too. Black beans are yet another option that also ramp up the protein.
Salmon may actually be cooked from the frozen state. Additional cooking time would need to be added. (For more information, you can reference www.cookitfrozen.com.) Whether starting from fresh or frozen, don’t hesitate to cut into the fish to determine doneness. Unlike chicken or beef, the juices will not run out. I like the center to be just slightly undercooked. The fish will continue to cook as it rests, and this will ensure the end result is not dry.
Wild salmon fillet is typically thinner and less fatty than farmed salmon, although wild does have higher levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Consequently, many recipes written with farmed salmon in mind will lead to overcooked wild salmon. To prevent dry fish, check the salmon sooner than you think you should, particularly when cooking wild salmon for the first time. Exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of fillet as well as the precise heat being used.
If you’d like to reserve a share of Joe’s wild salmon or simply learn a little more about Kwee-Jack Fish Co., visit www.eatwildsalmon.com/lancaster.
Make this easy Grilled Teriyaki Salmon the first night, reserving some leftovers for the flavorful all-in-one bowls.