With all the nutritionists and dieticians going on and on about how important it is to eat seafood at least two or three times a week, I’ve been trying my best to eat my weekly fish ration. Somehow, I don’t think all the beautiful smoked salmon, shrimp and escargot dishes made for my Stocks, Sauces and Soups class by the Intro to Catering class really count, so I’ve been trying to prepare more seafood at home. I figure it’s better to eat my seafood for dinner than as a Monday night snack.
Granted, with the weather changing, the healthiest seafood preparations (ceviche, sushi, smoked fish) don’t seem like the best options. On a chilly fall night I’d rather be comforted by luxurious cream and butter sauces than a cold fish dish. Still, it’s imperative to get your daily nutrients, so in today’s featured meal I tried to combine health with luxury.
Salmon is known to be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. When it’s combined with veggie-studded quinoa, a grain similar to rice that is itself a complete protein, it makes for an overall healthy dish. This super-easy mustard cream sauce just takes your weeknight seafood dinner from boring to exceptional—and a little cream sauce never hurt anyone.
This meal can come together in 30 minutes. Simply start the quinoa, and then make the cream sauce and sauté the salmon while the quinoa is simmering. Quinoa is a quick-cooking grain, so it will be ready in about 15 minutes. Serve this dish with crusty bread for mopping up the extra cream sauce.
Salmon with Mustard Cream Sauce
If you’re really counting calories, you can use milk or half and half instead of cream in this recipe. The cream sauce begins with a roux—the French term for a cooked mixture of equal parts flour and butter; it’s the base for many French sauces. Click here for a print copy of this recipe.
4 salmon filets
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 c. heavy cream, warmed through, plus more for thinning
1½ Tbs. stone-ground or Djion mustard
1 Tbs. dried dill or 2 Tbs. fresh
2 Tbs olive oil
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Prepare salmon. Pat salmon filets dry with a paper towel. Season well on both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Make sauce. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour until combined. Cook for 2-3 minutes to cook out flour flavor. Slowly add the cream to the flour mixture, whisking continuously to remove lumps. Whisk in the mustard and dried dill. Thin with more cream or milk to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook salmon. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pan fry salmon until browned and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with mustard sauce; garnish with parsley.
Quinoa with Cucumber and Tomato
A complete protein, quinoa is very healthful grain-like crop. It’s a good source of fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Use it in place of couscous or white rice. Serves 4 as a side dish. Click here for a print copy of this recipe.
1 Tbs. olive oil
½ cucumber, seeded and diced
1 onion, chopped
½ lb. (1/2 pint) tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 c. quinoa
2 c. chicken stock, or 1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 2 c. boiling water
¼ c. fresh chopped parsley
Directions: Rinse quinoa under cold water and water runs clear. Set aside. Heat oil in a small saucepan.
Add all veggies and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add quinoa, sauté 1 minute more.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Boil 1 minute, then lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa softens and each grain appears to have a tiny white thread. Remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, season with salt and pepper, and serve.