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Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: Wild Alaskan salmon is one of those foods that gives me an instant energy boost whenever I eat it. Not to be confused with farm-raised, as John points out, wild salmon is in a class all its own. This month I share a few of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh wild salmon and, for when budgets get tighter or fresh caught is not available, canned wild salmon—either way is a treat! Enjoy.

Look for John Bagnulo’s commentary on wild salmon and cilantro below.

Poached Fresh Wild Salmon

This fish is just too precious to do too much messing with. I enjoy it simply poached, with one of the accompanying toppings.

1 pound fresh wild Alaskan salmon
1 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
A few cloves garlic

To poach the salmon, use a skillet with high sides and a lid. Place 1 cup of water in the pan with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and a few cloves of peeled and smashed garlic. Place the salmon (about 1 pound) in the water, skin side down. The water should not cover the fish. Bring the water to a boil and turn down to a simmer with the lid on the pan. Simmer until the salmon is cooked through but still soft and flaky. Be careful not to overcook. Depending on the thickness of the fish, this should take about eight minutes. I prefer to remove the skin by scrapping with a spatula between the skin and the fish; some folks eat the skin and all. Serve with one of the following toppings.

Read John Bagnulo’s commentary: Poached Wild Salmon.

When buying and cooking salmon as part of a healthy diet, “wild” is a key word: farm-raised salmon are fed a corn-pellet-based diet that significantly changes the fatty-acid composition of the fish. Wild salmon is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. It is important to get at least a portion of your total omega-3 fatty acid requirement in this fully formed, long-chain form, because humans have more difficulty converting the plant varieties found in flax, walnuts, brazil nuts, etc. Poaching is the best way to preserve omega-3s, as the lower temperature and water/steam are much more conducive to healthy cooking overall.

Cilantro Mint Coulis

Makes about ½ cup.

1 small bunch cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh mint
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
Green or red chilies (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and fragrant.

Read John Bagnulo’s commentary: Cilantro.

Cilantro is a wonderful herb that has remarkable attributes for treating heavy-metal toxicity. Animal research has shown that cilantro contains molecules that prevent the deposition of lead and mercury in tissues. I recommend eating cilantro for people that have been exposed to toxic levels of either heavy metal.

Mango Salsa

Makes 1½ cups.

2 fresh ripe mangos
2 shoots of scallion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
jalapeño peppers to taste, diced
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
pinch of salt

Make sure mango is ripe and then peel and dice it. Add chopped scallion, olive oil, fresh cilantro, and lime juice, plus enough jalapeño to make you happy and a pinch of salt. Let the salsa sit awhile to allow flavors time to develop—then enjoy.

Salmon Cakes

Makes four large cakes.

1 7.5-ounce can wild-caught salmon
1 medium yam
1 egg (optional)
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
2 scallions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch paprika

First, steam yam until soft. Drain canned salmon, reserving the liquid for soup stock or other uses (my cats are big fans). Using a fork, mash and combine all ingredients. Separate into four patties and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.