Sunday, January 6, 2013

Better, Not Boring DINNERS

New Year's Resolution - Better Food that's not Boring.

Panko Crusted Salmon on Wilted Kale and Cereriac Puree with Asparagus,
Photo and  Food Styling by Linda Matarasso

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to get Healthier and Thinner would be great but Healthier and more Energetic is the Goal.  I am not willing to go the cottage cheese and celery sticks and total deprivation of all tasty foods route though.  Years ago I did Weight Watchers and over the course of about a year I lost about 40 pounds slowly.  I did it by calculating everything I ate and trying to get all the nutrients I needed in a single day.  The reason I was able to last on it for a full year was because I didn't eat Diet Food.   I searched for healthy alternatives to my usual favourites.  I tried baked fries, I gave up drinking a can of Coke every afternoon and started drinking water.   I ate a lot of Chicken Souvlaki in a Pita which saved me most days because it had everything I needed in one little package.

This time I want to try something that might be a little more work but a lot less calculating.  I want to search for Recipes that make food taste the best it can be and with the maximum nutrition without sacrificing taste.  I want boring vegetables to taste better than Junk Food.  You think I am crazy if you are addicted to Junk Food.  I have a food blog for a reason.  When I am not lazy or busy and I am motivated I can cook almost anything.   I might not be able to do the fancy pastries and Cake Boss crazy cakes but I can whip up some tasty food in the kitchen with a little inspiration.

Today's attempt at Better, Not Boring started after watching Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa make a recipe for Salmon that was smeared with mustard and crusted with Panko Bread Crumbs.   Hey,  I can do that!  I had the Salmon that I picked up at the St. Lawrence Market on Saturday waiting for a good idea.  I also had a big ball of Celery Root sitting on my counter and a bunch of Asparagus sitting in a cup of water also staring me in the face on my counter.  Hmm,  I think these things might go well together.

So here's what I did to put the whole thing together.

I took 1 piece of Salmon Filet and patted it dry and then smeared the top with Dijon Mustard.
I then made a mixture of chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley in a bowl with half of a lemon zest.
Salt and Pepper and a couple of tablespoons of Panko Bread Crumbs.
I mixed the bread crumb mixture and then pressed it on top of the mustard coated salmon.  
Make sure you don't put anything on the skin on the bottom.
Set aside for a minute while you prepare the pan and oven.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a cast iron pan add just enough oil to coat the pan and then wash the trimmed Asparagus.   Heat the pan on high and then when it's hot add the Asparagus that is slightly drained.  A little water on it is good to steam it cooked so that it doesn't burn, but it might spit in the pan with the oil in the pan.  You can add a bit of salt to the asparagus in the pan.   Once the Asparagus has turned bright green and it's ok if it has a bit of char marks on it but it's still crisp and not soggy then remove it from the pan and put in on a plate and add Lemon Juice, you can also add lemon zest if you like.  Pepper and more salt to taste and a drizzle of Olive Oil.  You can also add balsamic vinegar or other vinegars instead of lemon juice.   Set aside.

Asparagus - Photo and styling by Linda Matarasso
In the same cast iron pan that the Asparagus was cooked in that is still hot on the stove place the piece of Salmon skin side down in the pan and then cook it for 2 to 3 minutes until the skin has enough time to get crispy.   Take the whole cast iron pan and then place it into the preheated oven and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the Salmon Filet.  The panko bread crumbs should turn Golden Brown on top.

Once the fish is cooked serve it with the Asparagus and I also made Celery Root Puree which i will post the recipe for in a separate post.  You can also use Mashed Potatoes, sweet potatoes or even Cauliflower to complete your meal.  Or Rice for that matter.   It doesn't matter,  use what you have as a side.   I used the celery root to boost the nutrition and skip the white potatoes.

On the plate I first put a bed of wilted Kale, but you could also substitute for wilted Spinach and then added the Celeriac puree and then the Salmon and Asparagus Spears.

 Voila a Healthy Non Boring Dinner.

My inspiration for today's dinner was Ina Garten.

Find your Ina Garten or whatever will inspire you to make a better meal.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Yum! Yum! Everything looks amazing! Next time you go to St. Lawrence Market let me know. I'd like to join you.


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