Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wild, Alaskan Sockeye Salmon with Nutricilicious "Mock" Romesco Sauce

I'll be honest with you; I've been a little leery of posting lately. As typical as can be, my New Year resolution is to really vamp up my health routine. The first two weeks of January, I spent very carefully monitoring every meal, as I got more comfortable and aware of my healthy, soon-to-be lifestyle habits; I have also grown more daring in the kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I'll still venture down to fattyville sparsely, but I'm saving those culinary journeys for special occasions and times when I can widely disperse calories i.e. share with friends. In this effort, I have proudly stuck to extremely healthy diet for the past month, one that heavily consists of veggies and fish, lots and lots of fish.

Some would call me a “pescasnob,” a title I'm honest enough to embrace. Over the years, I have grown extremely choosy about the fish I eat; perhaps I'd credit my college Marine Biology field study of a fish farm in San Diego as the precursor of my “pescasnobbery.” I try to stay on top of fish seasons around the world and really honestly avoid anything farmed unless I'm being a polite dinner guest. My happiest purchase is a fresh, never frozen, wild fillet, although it’s luxury. As fate would have it, Todd, is the definitive Pacific North westerner - I wouldn't be surprised if he has eaten salmon that he caught with his bare hands out of a creek. I was pretty shocked when we first started dating that my fishie ways didn’t even seem to faze him, as most people inquire quite a bit about my preferences. As you should now expect, today’s recipe includes a gorgeous fillet of wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, sadly frozen because it’s not in season but it was still pretty good. Buying fish can become a daunting task; there is key jargon that can really help one narrow down what the catch of the day on your dinner table should be. Generally, I veer away from farmed fish, one because when I visited the fishery there were hundreds of thousands of large fish cramped in too small of quarters, visibly swimming in their own waste, yes, waste is ladylike talk for poop. That turned me off quite a bit but if I tuck that mental image branded in my memory away (the very tactic I must employ to get anything McDonald's down) I still have another hurdle that is quite hard to clear. When fish is farmed, I have no way of knowing the environ in which it is raised but also any additives, colors, preservatives, antibiotics, genetic modification, use of growth hormones and the such. These questions and standards should also apply to any and all meats. I will state that I know Whole Foods does have an extremely high standard with their farmed fish; it is free of the nasty stuff I mentioned above and is sustainably farmed, as always, there are exceptions. I will also state that I believe that the nutritional value of eating farmed fish may perhaps outweigh the negative aspects and it is much much more affordable choosing farmed, but my personal goal is to stick with the all natural, wild, sustainable fish. Some key words that might help guide you through the process of purchasing fish:

Wild: Caught in nature. Be aware that scientists believe that around 2050 wild caught will not be available in stores due to over fishing (see sustainable).  
Farmed: The fish was raised in a commercial facility
Sustainable: the method to obtain the This means that we seek fisheries that keep fish populations abundant, rather allowing overfishing to occur. It also means that in the process of fishing or farming, impacts on the ecosystem are minimizedfish is environmentally responsible, this takes into account the impact on the ecosystem, and the population of the type of fish is abundant enough to not be depleted or over fished. Farmed fish can also be farmed sustainably, it doesn’t necessarily mean wild.
 Fresh: Never frozen, fresh off the boat. Yet, be cautious, a fresh fish can sit in a store for up to nine days, never buy dry, discolored, milky looking or smelly fish.  
Previously Frozen: This is pretty clear, but its defrosted fish. This is necessary for fish out of season and from geographically far locations. Some fish we frankly will never get to eat fresh.
Best general tips: Know your fish species, know the seasons, and keep in mind your geography and what naturally inhabits in your nearest body of water. Do a little research and find out what are the sustainable species for your geography. Also, look into available apps to help you with your fish choices, yes, there are apps for this too!

So, you’ve researched, you’ve learned, you have the perfect fillet sitting beautifully on a plate in your kitchen, what to do from there? Here is a little simple recipe that Todd and I made to jazz up a wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon dinner. To note, Alaskan salmon is sustainable for California and this was previously frozen, it’s a little early for the season. We made a "mock" romesco sauce, which was perfectly pink to match the natural pink of our wild salmon. I say "mock" because I definitely went way off the traditional Spanish recipe in order to make this as healthy as possible. This was light and flavorful, nor could I feel it sticking to my ribs during my run (major plus). I will be adding this to my usual rotation of fish recipes.

Salmon with “Mock” Romesco Sauce
2 fillets of salmon of your choice (we splurged and had 6 oz verses the standard serving size of fish, 3 oz.)
1 large tomato
1 red bell pepper, stem and innards removed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/8 of a cup of sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
In a preheated oven at 425 degrees, place tomato, bell pepper and garlic in a baking pan for 20 minutes. Remove, cool. Take the tomato, bell pepper and garlic and puree in a food processor, add sunflower seeds, bread, vinegar- pulse until well blended and still thick. Salt to taste, it will need salt. Spread sauce on top of the salmon, place in a baking dish and cook at 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes, sauce side up, skin down. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment