Salmon: The New Chicken?

August 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm 1 comment

Naan Bread 002  If I had my way, cooking would become The New Scrapbooking. It is every bit the creative outlet that crafting is; you have to spend money on food, anyway, so it’s no additional drain to the budget; and can you just imagine how much healthier the general population could be if we all consistently controlled the quality of the ingredients we consume?

The next step on my wand-waving mission might be to designate salmon as The New Chicken. I remember the salmon of my youth as a rather odd-textured, canned substance that did not light up my face when my mother announced it as “what’s for dinner.” Only within then last few years have I come to appreciate the fresh salmon or fresh-frozen fillets available today as a mouth-watering taste sensation far removed from that dry, grayish-pink patty of decades past.

There also seem to be about as many ways to prepare this protein-dense, low-sodium fare as there are recipes for chicken, and the nutrition profile tips the scale toward salmon – even with its higher price tag.  A 6-ounce portion serves up 39 grams of protein, 40% of the RDA for thiamin, 72% for niacin, 58% for B6, 83% for B12, 45% for phosphorus, 20% for potassium, and the highest Omega-3 levels of any cold-water fish.  Ah, and let’s not forget the 105% of your RDA for selenium, too. (That scraping sound you just heard was me dragging my lectern back into the closet.)

So, once again this week I offered my dinner guests Marinated Baked Salmon served with Roasted Potato Wedges, Warm Corn and Tomato Salad, and Grilled Naan Bread with Cream Cheese and Red Seedless Grapes.  For a dessert-like, fruity finish, Mango-Banana-Kiwi Smoothies.  Twenty-first century eating at its best. 

For the salmon main dish, a simple oven marinade:

4-6 oz salmon fillets             1 TB lemon juice             1 TB honey mustard             1/4 tsp paprika            4 med carrots, peeled

Pat fillets dry with a paper towel and set aside. In a shallow bowl, combine the lemon juice, honey mustard, and paprika. Turn fillets over in marinade to coat well. Slice carrots into thirds crosswise, then into shoestring strips lengthwise. Distribute carrots evenly over the bottom of a large, shallow baking dish, pour 1/4 cup warm water into the pan, top with salmon fillets, and pour marinade over the fillets.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Roasted potatoes are a staple around my house, and this technique works well with bakers, Yukon Golds™, or red-skinned, which I used here:

1 TB olive oil             4-6 potatoes             pepper             garlic salt

Line a large cookie sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 8-10 wedges and roll them in the oil as you distribute them evenly over the surface of the pan. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes.

For the corn and tomato salad, assemble:

1 TB + 2 tsp olive oil                   2 cups corn                      1 small jalapeno, diced/seeded                      1/4 C sweet onion, diced

1/4 C green pepper, diced       2 C chopped tomatoes 1 TB lime juice                                                        1 TB chopped fresh basil

To a large skillet over medium heat add the 1 TB oil, corn, jalapeno, onion, and green pepper; cook for two minutes, stirring often. Add the tomatoes and heat through for 1-2 minutes, stirring very gently to combine. In a medium serving dish, whisk together the 2 tsp oil, lime juice, and basil. Spoon the warm ingredients into the serving dish and fold gently to distribute dressing. Serve warm along side the salmon fillets.

I found some nice whole wheat Naan bread in my grocer’s freezer section last week. For a quick and easy accompaniment, I laid the flatbread on a baking pan, brushed it very lightly with olive oil, and warmed it along with the salmon for the last ten minutes of baking time.

And for the smoothies:

2 large kiwi, peeled, cubed, chilled             1 cup cubed, chilled mango             1 large banana             1/4 C yogurt                    1 TB vanilla syrup*                                             6 ice cubes

Place the fruits in the container of a blender and pulverize them well. Add the yogurt, syrup, and ice cubes and whir until blended and chilled through. (*Because my husband and I both avoid processed sugar, I always use sugar free DaVinci™ syrups, but you could easily substitute honey or a few drops of stevia and a teaspoon of vanilla extract here.)

How blessed we are, to have a marketplace that offers the once-gourmet treat of “real” salmon, in all its nutrient-rich glory, right alongside such once-exotic fresh fruits such as kiwi and mango.  And coming soon: a well-deserved tribute to that good old standard – skinless, boneless chicken breast and its legendary versatility. After all, there’s room for more than one family favorite in a democracy, right?

Entry filed under: Musings of a Midwestern Foodie. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Weaving Moral Fiber – Part II The Lighter Side of Sage Counsel

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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

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