Hearty & Healthy
Yes, it’s January, so we’re all on a diet. And yes, we’ve vowed to be more healthy in 2008. But that doesn’t mean dinner has to be dull. Marcus Guiliano, of Ellenville’s Aroma Thyme Bistro, is a chef (and health fanatic) whose m.o. all year round is to prepare tasty food that’s good for you, too. When asked to come up with a winter dinner that’s low-cal yet hearty and stylish, he suggested this salmon dish. “Alaskan Sockeye is a wild salmon that feeds on plankton, algae, and krill to pack on enough fat for its long journey back to where it was born,” says Guiliano. “But it’s the long-chain, heart-healthy fat, and it’s not nearly as fatty as farmed fish.” The Aleutian salmon Guiliano prepares “roam the deep, cold waters of the beautiful North Pacific Ocean,” he notes, so they’re happy fish. “And Alaska is the utmost in sustainability, so they won’t deplete their fisheries.”
He reels off the benefits of the other ingredients. Fennel? Aids digestion. Green beans? Chlorophyll. (“Anything green shows the sun’s vital life force.”) Potatoes? Potassium. (“But French fries with ketchup are not good.”) It’s also best to sautÃ© using a high-heatâ€“resistant oil, Guiliano says. “Lots of healthy oils are shot when heated.” Even the salt Guiliano uses has special properties. “It’s Himalayan crystal salt and it gives a major boost. It’s a little expensive, but it’s worth it. It has 84 ionic minerals — only seaweed has more.”
Pan-roasted Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
Serves 4 â€¢ About 550 calories per portion
â€¢ Four 6-oz boneless Alaskan salmon fillets â€¢ 2 cups dry white wine â€¢ 1-2 medium tomatoes (organic, or a good canned brand), diced fine â€¢ 2 pinches saffron â€¢ 12 heads baby fennel â€¢ 6-8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, halved â€¢ 1/2 cup olives, a blend of your favorites â€¢ 1/2 lb French beans (or you can use broccoli or spinach) â€¢ 1 tablespoon coconut, soy or safflower oil
1. Combine white wine, tomatoes, saffron and olives in a heavy pan with a lid. Submerge the fennel, bring to a simmer, cover and poach for 30 minutes over low heat.
2. Place potatoes in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. When they are almost cooked through, remove and drain.
3. In a large, heavy-bottomed sautÃ© pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Sear the cut side of the potatoes and add the salmon fillets, flesh side down. When the fillets are browned on one side (about 3 minutes), flip them over and turn the potatoes. Reduce heat to low and allow both to cook 5 to 10 minutes further.
4. Plunge green beans into boiling, salted water. Remove when tender (3 or 4 minutes).
5. Assemble dish and spoon poaching broth with a few olives over the top.