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Salmon Tacos from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine makes use of healthy ingredients and the microwave oven to make a fast and flavorful meal.
AP photo
Salmon Tacos from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine makes use of healthy ingredients and the microwave oven to make a fast and flavorful meal.

Eat more fish
That's what nutritional experts prescribe for 2007

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com · 340-2446

Check every new cookbook and change-your-lifestyle-in-2007 book, and you’ll find they all have one thing in common: Eat more fish.

Andrew Weil, M.D., author of “Eight Weeks to Optimum Health” and many other books, recommends that you “begin eating some fish if you do not already do so.” Fish, he says, are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have beneficial effects on many body functions. The acids also are anti-inflammatory and reduce the risk of heart disease.

He recommends “oily fish from cold Northern waters: salmon, sardines, kippers, mackerel” and says you can get the salmon fresh and the others from cans. He also recommends wild sockeye (red) salmon, whether fresh or in cans, which should be free from toxins.

Salmon also is listed on the Mayo Clinic’s “Top 10 Healthy Foods” list.

If you want to prepare restaurant-style fish at home, Red Lobster shares its recipe for tilapia baked in a bag. Or if you’re trying to make eating fish more fun, perhaps for the children in the family, try fish tacos.

Exercise physiologist Bob Greene, who helped Oprah Winfrey lose weight, shares several fish and shrimp recipes in his cookbook, “The Best Life Recipes” (Simon & Schuster, 2006, $26), along with some concerns that many others have voiced recently.

“Fish has always been on the top of my list of lean, high-quality protein sources. It’s an essentially healthy food that’s not only low in calories, but can also be rich in omega-3 fatty acids,” he said. “But I have to admit that I’m worried about the quality of seafood these days” because of water pollution.

While the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week (especially salmon, sardines, mackerel and lake trout), Greene has fish about once a week and recommends taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. He has switched to “chunk light” tuna and prefers wild salmon instead of farmed salmon, despite the extra cost.

The following salmon recipe accented with mustard comes from “The Healthy Kitchen” cookbook by Weil and Rosie Daley:

Grilled Salmon with Mustard Sauce

4 salmon fillets (about 6 ounces each)

1 lemon, cut in half

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sauce:

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 1 tablespoon dried dill

1 handful chopped fresh basil

Rinse the fillets under cold running water and pat them dry. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 lemon over the fillets, then season them with salt and pepper. Preheat grill or broiler.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Whisk together the mustard, olive oil and dill in a small bowl. Add the basil and the juice from the other 1/2 lemon, mixing well.

Grill the fish on high heat, or broil until desired doneness, but do not overcook. Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

Alaska dietitians created this recipe that flavors salmon with Italian salad dressing and garlic:

Parmesan Alaska Salmon Delight

6 Alaska Salmon steaks or fillets, thawed if frozen; about 6 ounces each

1/2 cup prepared low fat or fat-free Italian salad dressing

1 teaspoon dried minced garlic

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Marinate salmon in Italian dressing 1-2 hours, refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer salmon to a 9x13-inch baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle each fillet or steak with minced garlic and Parmesan cheese, spreading evenly over fish. Bake until done, about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Makes 6 servings, each with 304 calories, 38gm protein, 15gm total fat, 3gm saturated fat, 2.1gm omega-3 fatty acids, 79mg cholesterol, 0 carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 303mg sodium.

This recipe for low-fat salmon tacos from the January/February issue of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine incorporates moderate amounts of healthy fats with high-impact ingredients such as cilantro.

Salmon Tacos

11/4 pounds salmon fillet

Course salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 cup packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Eight 6-inch whole wheat tortillas

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce

2 medium carrots, peeled into strips

Place the salmon in a shallow 21/2-quart microwave-safe dish with a lid. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice. Sprinkle the fish with the scallions and 1/4 cup of the cilantro.

Cover and microwave on high for 7 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Pour off any liquid and flake with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together sour cream and remaining lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the fish has cooked, stack the tortillas between white paper towels. Microwave on high for 45 seconds, or until warmed through.

Arrange lettuce and carrots down center of each tortilla, then top with salmon and drizzle lightly with sauce. Fold in half.

Makes 4 servings, each with 434 calories, 17g total fat, 37g pro., 32g carbo., 18g dietary fiber.

Here are several fishy ideas from Real Simple, Taste of Home and other magazines:

Herbed Orange Roughy

2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 6-ounce orange roughy fillets

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Sprinkle over both sides of orange roughy.

In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook fillets in butter over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn; stir in the wine or broth, soy sauce and onion. Cook 4 to 6 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Makes 4 servings, each with 172 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated), 42mg cholesterol, 392mg sodium, 4g carbs, 26g protein. Diabetic exchanges: 4 very lean meat, 1/2 fat.

Salmon with Dijon Dill Sauce

Four 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnishing

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 cucumber, thinly sliced (optional)

Set broiler on high. Place the salmon on a foil-lined broiler pan and season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Broil until the salmon is the same color throughout and flakes easily, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter until it melts. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in the mustard, dill, pepper and the remaining salt. Remove from heat. Cut the remaining butter into pieces, add to the sauce, and whisk until incorporated.

Place the salmon on individual plates, spoon the sauce over the top, and sprinkle with additional dill. Serve with the cucumber (if desired).

Makes 4 servings.

Farfalle with Smoked Salmon and Peas

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

12 ounces farfalle (bow tie) pasta

1 cup frozen peas

4-ounce package smoked salmon, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.

While the water heats, combine the olive oil, onion, garlic and red pepper (if using) in a large skillet set over a medium-high heat. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender and just translucent, about 6 minutes.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, or just firm at the center, about 8 minutes, or as the packaging directs.

While the pasta cooks, add the peas to the onions and cook until peas are heated through. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Once the pasta has cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer it and a bit of the water clinging to it to the skillet. If you would rather drain the pasta, first reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and add it to the skillet along with the pasta.

Add the salmon, dill and lemon zest to the skillet and toss well to combine. The heat of the pasta will mostly cook the salmon, but it need not be cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Greene, who is the author of 10 books, shares this shrimp dish and other recipes in “The Best Life Recipes.”

Shrimp and Edamame Rotini

8 ounces (3 cups) dry whole wheat rotini or whole wheat blend rotini, such as fiber-enriched Barilla Plus

11/2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rotini in a large saucepan according to package directions. Add the edamame (soybeans) for the last 5 minutes of cooking. When the pasta and edamame are done, drain and return to the saucepan.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook over high heat for 1 minute per side; add the diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.

Combine the shrimp mixture with the cooked pasta and edamame. Toss with the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 5 servings, each with 486 calories, 43g protein, 58g carbs, 10g fiber, 12g total fat (3 saturated), 180mg cholesterol, 537 mg sodium.

Fish in a Bag

The recipe for tilapia baked in a bag is provided by Red Lobster.
AP Photo
The recipe for tilapia baked in a bag is provided by Red Lobster.
8 sheets parchment paper

4 servings Vegetable Mix (recipe below)

12 lemon slices

4 thyme sprigs

1 teaspoon Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic

4 8- to 10-ounce pieces of tilapia, skin off

Vegetable Mix recipe:

1 medium red onion, cut into half slices

1 medium red pepper, cut into 11/2x1/4-inch strips

2 stalks of celery, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

8 ounces carrot slims

2 tablespoons McCormick’s “It’s a Dilly” seasoning

2 baking potatoes

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon Prudhomme’s Vegetable Magic

To prepare vegetables:

Wash and cut vegetables; peel onion and slice into 1/4-inch half moons. Cut potatoes in half in the middle and then into sixths. Steam potatoes for 8 to 10 minutes; cool in ice water to stop cooking. Drain. Place all vegetables into a mixing bowl. Add It’s a Dilly blend, kosher salt, ground pepper, chopped thyme and Vegetable Magic. Mix well.

To prepare fish:

Make several 1/4-inch slices approximately 1/2-inch apart to ensure even cooking. Brush the tilapia with liquid butter and season with kosher salt. Lightly sprinkle with Blackened Redfish Magic.

Brush each piece of parchment paper lightly with liquid butter (one side only). Place 1/4 of the vegetable mixture in the center of one sheet of parchment paper. Place one piece of tilapia on top of the vegetable mixture and add three lemon slices and a thyme sprig. Place one sheet of the buttered parchment paper on top of the tilapia.

Crimp the two sheets of parchment paper like a piecrust until bottom and top are completely sealed. Repeat with other fish.

Place bags of tilapia on a cookie sheet. Cook in a 450-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. To serve, place bag on a plate and slice the parchment open at the table.

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