Instant Pot Alaska Salmon and Farro Bowl with Pickled Cucumbers and Kimchi

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Grain bowls are trendy for good reason: They’re healthy, filling, and endlessly customizable. We wanted to create one with farro and wild Alaska salmon that could be made simply in the Instant Pot. The challenge, of course, comes from getting the recipe to work considering the varying cooking times.

The first step to solving our problem is to start with frozen wild Alaska salmon fillets. This allows us to create a recipe that requires almost no pre-planning. Just grab some salmon from the freezer and you’re good to go. No thawing necessary. We always opt for wild Alaska salmon because it is sustainably sourced and flash-frozen, so the fish we get is as fresh as the day it was caught.

The secret to getting everything cooked perfectly is to work in two stages. First, we sauté some garlic in oil to flavor both the farro and salmon and then add the uncooked farro to the pot and toast it for a few minutes. Water goes in, then the steamer rack trivet is placed on top. The salmon goes on the trivet, and everything cooks on high pressure for three minutes. Quickly release the pressure and remove the salmon. Tent it in tin foil to keep it warm. The farro cooks for another five minutes and comes up to pressure much faster the second time around. If you like, add a bowl of shiitake mushrooms tossed with sesame oil before you cook the farro again, and voila. You’ve got yourself farro, salmon, and mushrooms to enjoy.

From here, feel free to play with the bowl based on your preferences and what you have on hand. It’s really less of a recipe and more of a road map. If you have cucumbers, slice some up and toss them with vinegar, sugar, and salt for some quick pickles that add a nice crunch and brightness to the final bowl. Slice up avocado or radish, grate some carrot or cabbage, chop up scallions, grab a handful of spinach or microgreens, and/or add as much kimchi as your heart desires. You could even throw a poached or fried egg on top if you feel like it. Have leftover roasted veggies? Throw those in, too!

With this road map, anything goes.

Instant Pot Alaska Salmon and Farro Bowl with Pickled Cucumbers and Kimchi

0:40

Yield: Serves 4
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 cup farro
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
1 3/4 cups water
4 (4-ounce) frozen Alaska salmon fillets
3/4 cup of shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cucumber, sliced in thin half-moons
1 avocado, sliced
Kimchi, for serving

Directions

1. Put oil in the inner pot of your Instant Pot or multicooker and turn the sauté function to high. When oil is hot, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, until just aromatic. Add farro and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes, until it smells pleasantly toasty. Stir in water and turn off heat.

2. Run frozen Alaska salmon fillets under cold water to remove any ice glaze and pat dry with a paper towel. Place steamer rack trivet on top of farro and arrange Alaska salmon fillets on top (it may be partially submerged and the fillets may overlap; that’s okay). If using skin-on fillets, place skin-side down. Make sure the pressure valve is set to pressure, and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, put shiitake mushrooms in stainless steel or other ovenproof bowl. Toss with sesame oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

4. In another medium bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add cucumber slices, toss to coat in vinegar mixture, and set aside.

5. Quick-release the Instant Pot by turning off the warm function and immediately turning the pressure valve to release. Once the pin drops down, take off the lid and remove salmon. Put the bowl of mushrooms on the steamer rack, cover, return valve to the pressure setting, and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Turn off the warm function and allow to naturally release for 5 minutes, then turn valve to release.

6. Spoon farro into 4 bowls. Top each with a salmon fillet plus mushrooms, pickled cucumbers, avocado, and kimchi. Spoon some of the pickling liquid from cucumbers over each bowl, along with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Want more ways to cook your Alaska salmon from frozen? Try our recipes for Grilled Alaska Salmon with Crispy Garlicky Chickpeas, Honey-Soy Alaska Salmon with Charred Scallions and Black Sesame Seeds, and 20-Minute Alaska Salmon with Pistachio-Parsley Pesto.