I was planning for the upcoming BBQ season (thinking about healthful, delicious grilling options to complement Jodie’s potato salad from last week) and thinking about my upcoming trip to Alaska. Those two events lead me to think about salmon!
I want to share with you one of my favorite salmon recipes. It’s adapted from a recipe in this cookbook “Cooking the RealAge Way” by Michael Roizen and John La Puma (who says you can’t judge a book by its cover?! 🙂 )
We currently get all of our salmon from a Duluth local, Dave Rogotzke (simplegiftssyrupandsalmon.com) but we thought it would be fun to catch some of our own. I lived in Alaska for 3 years back in the late 1990s/early 2000s. (I completed by dietetic internship there and worked for 2 years at Providence Diabetes and Nutrition Center). It’s been nearly 13 years since I last visited. We are looking forward to hiking, mountain biking, visiting my “old stompin’ grounds”, and fishing. There is something so joyful about procuring your own food. Whether it is a simple herb pot in your window sill (for the cilantro in this recipe!), a vegetable you’ve grown in your garden (I’m starting small this year–tomatoes, snap peas, spaghetti squash, and mixed greens), or fish you’ve caught in your local lake or on a grand trip, food seems to taste better when you’ve had a hand in putting it on your table.
Not only is this dish simple and beautiful (I love the deep pink of the salmon contrasted by the soft orange of the mango and the subtle green of the avocado), made with salmon, olive oil, garlic, sesame seeds, and avocado, you cannot get a more anti-inflammatory dish on your table! Of course, I have to put on my clinical dietitian hat: this recipe is great for folks with diabetes diabetes (only 30 grams of carb in the whole recipe), high blood pressure and/or Congestive Heart Failure (VERY low sodium. No added salt/sodium. Only the sodium that naturally occurs in the salmon. About 30mg per ounce of fish), or celiac disease (gluten-free).
I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend. Enjoy!
Ingredients for salsa:
1 mango, peeled and cubed
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar (or any of your favorites)
Black pepper, to taste
(Optional, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro)
Mix all the above ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
1 fillet of salmon (I use sockeye)
2 gloves garlic, pressed
1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds (substitute regular sesame seeds if you are unable to find black)
Pre-heat grill to 400 degrees F.
Place salmon fillet on aluminum foil (you do not need to put it on foil but it helps with clean up and helps the fillet to cook evenly–see below). Leave the skin ON. This helps to protect it from over cooking.
Drizzle with olive oil. Top with fresh black pepper and garlic. Sprinkle black sesame seeds onto the fillet.
Place the salmon on the grill. (Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature. According to Andy Janikowski, owner of the Rustic Olive–a premium olive oil shop in Canal Park, Duluth–Oil olive is able to handle temperatures up to about 420 degrees. Hotter than that and the oil starts to breakdown. This is not necessarily dangerous to consume, it’s just that you have lost much of the health benefits of the olive oil).
It can be difficult to cook the whole fillet evenly. When the flesh starts to cook (3-4 mins), wrap the thinner end with the tin foil.
Typically a 1 inch thick fillet will take 8-10 minutes to cook. The fillet should still be a bit translucent (raw looking) in the middle. Be sure not to over-cook your salmon! If the salmon is opaque all the way through, it is overdone. Over-cooked salmon is stiff, dry, and grainy; not one bit appealing!
A few notes/reminders/thoughts:
1) Each grill is a little bit different. Get to know your grill. Yours could take 8 minutes or 10 minutes or even 11 minutes.
2) The fish will continue to cook when you take it off the grill–take it off before it is cooked all the way through. (Remember–people eat raw salmon–think sushi! It is better to undercook it and put it back on the grill if needed!).
3) It’s ok to cut the fillet while it’s on the grill to check the inside. Just cut it at a place where you would cut to create a 3-5 ounce portion.
Gently cut through the meat and scoop it off of the skin. Plate a 3-5 ounce portion of fish for each person and top with the mango-avocado salsa.
Serve with Jodie’s potato salad. Or, serve rice made with coconut milk and chopped cilantro stirred in after cooking. Try steamed carrots tossed with a little fresh grated ginger and maple syrup. YUM!