Salmon Pirok A traditional native Alaskan dish, similar to a pot pie
Start a pot of white, brown or wild rice. (No matter what size pan I use, I always measure by putting the rice in the pan, then setting my fingertip against the top of the surface of the rice & letting water flow till it reaches my first knuckle. Turn on high till it boils, then turn down to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
Hopefully you’ve taken your finger out by now! Turn off heat, allow to sit 5-10 minutes, then fluff with fork. Lay one store-bought(or make your own) refrigerated pie crust dough across a baking dish that you’ve spritzed with non-stick. Put at least a 1” layer of cooked rice in the pan. After making this once you can decide if you prefer it with more or less rice proportionate to the veggies/meat.
While the rice is cooking, prepare/cook your vegetables: cabbage, sweet yellow onion, and carrots. The last time I made this, I used rutabagas for the first time, and SWEAR I’ll never again make it without them! I have sometimes sliced the veggies ultra thin, or sometimes grated them, whatever strikes your fancy is fine. Saute them in butter or bacon grease for the biggest, richest (& most fattening) flavor or olive oil for your health’s sake, or a combination for a happy medium.
Alternately, you might try NOT pre-cooking them at ALL, & just let them cook as the entire pirok bakes. You may choose to put them on top of the rice in layers, which is prettier, or mix them together for a medley of colors.
Many people now add whole or chopped hard-boiled eggs. I just find that weird & extraneous, but it would taste good, so decide for yourself if the slight difference in flavor is really worth all the extra cholesterol when this dish is already out of control in that regard. Butter or lard in the crust, fat that was used to cook the veggies, AND the melted butter you’re now gonna pour over everything…Sheesh! Makes my arteries harden just thinking about it!
Then place skinless salmon across everything, cutting the fillets as necessary to get a consistent thickness across the whole pan. You can either cut straight down in ½ - 3/4” thick slices, or lay your knife on the diagonal and with your other hand firmly pressing down on the top of the fillet, cut at an angle to get pieces with a much larger surface area and more interesting flake to the meat when eaten.
We have a friend who sometimes makes this dish using canned salmon or even canned corned beef!
Place a second pie crust across the top, crimp the edges, cut a little fishy into the top or just make a few vent slits. Option: Brushing the top with beaten egg will make it more, hmmm, eggy & pretty gold. Bake for about 50 minutes. Using a glass baking dish is nice ‘cause you can peek at the bottom crust to see if it’s getting golden
I always offer both ketchup & cocktail sauce for a “dressing.” We are now totally hooked on sweet chili or Sriracha sauce, which is phenomenal with this!
Cut a halibut fillet into slices approximately 1/2" - 3/4" thick. Dredge in powdered Parmesan cheese. Fry in a saute pan over medium heat till the cheese turns golden, then flip over & let the other side crisp up.
Be very careful NOT to cook too long!! Fish has a resting period & will continue to cook from its own internal heat, so remove it from the heat before you think it's done! A million times better to have fish slightly underdone than overdone...you can always cook it a tiiiinnnnnny bit more if you absolutely MUST. Serve with grilled polenta & ratatouille for an elegant Italian-inspired meal...SSSOOOoooo good!
Note: We used to use the Kraft Parmesan Cheese that comes in the green can, but now that we are being more discriminating about what we put in our bodies we will buy a wedge of real Parmesan & grate it ourselves.