A healthy plate — Salmon fillets a good excuse to eat more fat
By Jim Romanoff
It’s always nice to be told to eat more of a delicious, fatty food, as in the case of salmon.
Health officials recommend eating at least two servings a week of omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish, such as salmon, herring and trout.
Fresh Atlantic salmon is available year-round while Pacific, which tends to have a fuller flavor and brighter color, is in season from late spring to late fall. Vacuum-sealed frozen salmon, which preserves well when frozen, is available year-round.
While whole salmon are available, the most convenient way to buy the fish is as fillets or steaks. Choose salmon that is firm to the touch and has bright color. It shouldn’t have a fishy odor, just a fresh seaweed scent.
Salmon steaks are basically a cross section of the whole fish. Because they include the skin and bones, steaks hold together well and tend to stay moist, which makes them well suited for grilling and broiling.
Fillets are the flesh of the salmon that has been cut off the bone from both sides of the fish. Fillets have few bones (you may need to remove a few pin bones with your fingertips) and work well in most types of recipes.
For grilling and pan sauteing, leave the skin on the fillets. This help prevent the salmon from falling apart. After cooking you can easily pull the skin off.
This recipe for Ginger-Soy Salmon is crusted on one side with toasted sesame seeds. Halfway through the baking it gets an Asian-style soy glaze that is vibrant with the flavors of nutty sesame oil, aromatic five-spice powder and pungent fresh ginger and garlic. If you like, adjust the spiciness by varying the amount of crushed red pepper flakers.
To complete this meal, serve the salmon on a bed of sauteed greens, with a side of steamed brown rice.
Ginger-soy salmon fillets
Start to finish: 35 minutes (20 minutes active)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4-pound center-cut salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, stir the sesame seeds over medium heat until they are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
In the same saucepan, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, cornstarch, five-spice powder and black pepper. Stir the glaze over medium heat until simmering and thickened, about 2 minutes.
Sprinkle the top-side of each salmon piece (not the skin side) with 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds. Set the salmon, seeded-side down, on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the salmon for 7 minutes. Turn the fillets over and top each one with about 2 tablespoons of the glaze. Continue baking for another 7 minutes, or until the fish is just opaque in the center.
Pull off and discard the skin from each fillet. Sprinkle with cilantro, if using.
Nutrition information per serving: 326 calories; 17 g fat (2 g saturated); 78 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 32 g protein; 1 g fiber; 621 mg sodium.