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Fried rice is one of those dishes that you can keep at the back of your mind and make on a few minutes’ notice with just about anything you have in your fridge.  There are a few staple ingredients that I try never to go without – eggs, for instance, or fresh ginger and scallions – but experimentation should lead to great results, as long as the rice is fresh and you have a few spices on hand to make it interesting.  Note that there is no soy sauce in this.  In China, fried rice is made with salt, not soy, as many American cooks like to do it.  Soy makes the rice soggy, and it often burns in the pan; salt has the same seasoning effect yet allows the rice to stay firm and the other flavors to combine.  

This recipe works with almost any seafood: crab, shrimp, and scallops are all great additions.  I like the smoked salmon because it allows you to use as little or as much as you have on hand and still get really big flavors out of the fish and the rest of the ingredients.  This will serve three or four; it’s quick and simple enough to make for one – reduce amounts accordingly.

You will need:

  • 3-4 cups leftover rice 
  • 6 oz. (or more) good quality smoked salmon
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and chopped – big chunks are nice
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 cups shredded hearty greens, such as kale, chard, or bok choy
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 or 5 scallions, cut into inch-long diagonals
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • allspice
  • nutmeg
  • cumin
  • ground chilies or chili flakes
  • seasoned rice vinegar
  • toasted sesame oil
  • olive oil
  • salt
1.  Heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy wok or deep frying pan.  Sautee the onions, peppers, greens, ginger, and garlic until the greens have wilted, the peppers are softened, and the onions are translucent.
2.  In another, smaller skillet, scramble the eggs and season with salt, cumin and ground chilies.
3.  Add the rice and scallions to the larger wok, along with healthy doses of allspice, nutmeg, cumin, and chilies.  Fry quickly, breaking apart any clumps with a wooden spoon and turning the rice frequently, to combine the ingredients and heat it all through.  Add the peas.
4.  Flake the salmon into the rice and continue to cook; if it’s too dry, shake some rice vinegar over the top to keep it moist.  Fling a few pinches of salt over the top and keep stirring.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  
5.  Add the eggs at the last, cutting them into the rice with your wooden spoon.  Your final result should be light and well-mixed, not soggy or clumpy.  Drizzle with toasted sesame oil and serve.
Other nice add-ins include: shiitake mushrooms, minced dried brine shrimp, diced and steamed potatoes, broccoli crowns, or galangal root (remove before eating).  A good dressing for on top includes equal parts Thai fish sauce and rice vinegar, plus sliced fresh red chilies and a spoonful of brown sugar.  Try it!
Smoked Salmon Fried Rice
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