This recipe is proof that you can serve a fine dining meal at home without breaking the bank. My inspiration actually came from a recent celebratory dinner at Prescott Arizona’s (IMHO) best restaurant, Atmesfir.
The highlight for me was when my dinner guests were pushing the salmon aside to get at the Black Rice, Barley, and Bacon, and asking “This is really good, what is it?” It’s a simple mixture of Black Rice (also known as Forbidden Rice), Pearled Barley, and Applewood Smoked Bacon.
Rinse the rice to remove the extra starch.
Take the salmon filets out of the refrigerator so they can warm to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Fill two small saucepans with 2/3 cup of water each and put them on the stove over medium high heat.
While waiting for the water to boil, slice the bacon strips crosswise into pieces about 1/4 inch wide. Fry them until they are done but still a little soft.
When both pots of water are boiling, add the rice to one pot and the barley to the second pot. Reduce the heat to medium and put lids on both pots. Stir them occasionally. Let them cook for about 45 minutes or until the contents are done.
When the rice and barley are cooked, drain the rice and place it in a mixing bowl. Then drain the barley. Part of the reason for the barley is to provide a color contrast to the black rice. Add the barley to the rice a couple spoonfulls at a time and mix them. Keep adding barley until you have a nice looking contrast. When I do this I use all but a couple spoonfuls of the barley. Finally, add the bacon and mix thoroughly so the bacon is evenly distributed throughout the rice and barley. Add salt a ittle at a time to bring out the flavor.
Time for the salmon. Place an oven-proof fry pan on the stove with the burner on high. Add a high-smoke point oil (Canola, Peanut, or Safflower). Wait until the hot oil just starts to smoke. Lay the salmon filets in the pan and don’t touch them for 30 seconds. Turn the salmon over and let it cook again for 30 seconds. At the end of the 30 seconds move the whole pan to the oven. Leave the salmon in the oven for 3-5 minutes. (This is really critical. Your objective is to get that that nice lightely-browned exterior but retain a juicy interior.)
Place just enough of the Black Rice/Barley/Bacon mixture on the plate to act as a bed for the salmon. Gently place a salmon filet on top. Serve!