Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pan Seared Salmon with Cajun Spiced Mixed Vegetables and Buttered Peas




I just realized that though I call myself and my family hard core carnivores and officially fish addicts, the blog has just nine fish recipes and nearly thirty-three vegetarian ones. 

I have made a conscious decision to eat and blog about more vegetables, beans n legumes and salads, but that does not mean I am going to ignore my first and true gastronomical love - FISH, especially when I eat them at least three to four times a week.


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I am pretty surprised that a couple years ago, in this very blog,  I have said I am not fond of Salmon, but I still eat it, since is so good for you. I guess Salmon is an acquired taste and I have finally acquired it. 


I solemnly swear that I am up to no good, without Salmon in my life!




This Saturday at our farmer's market, we sampled this gorgeous Wild Caught Norwegian Salmon. We were bowled over by the sheer butteriness of the fish. We promptly bought it. An indulgent buy but worth every cent. 





Just like a good cut of steak, a full bodied Salmon fillet does not require a hell lot of spices to come alive. "Just cook it with salt and pepper", my fishmonger had advised. I just gave it a little smattering of Old Bay Seasoning and pan seared it for few minutes on each side. Crusty on the outside and buttery and melting on the inside, this salmon was perhaps the best I have cooked so far.




When the main course is simple and oh-so-flavorful you want your side dishes to be subtle and complementary. So please welcome Miss. Buttered Peas and Miss. Cajun Spiced Mixed Vegetables.








Miss. Buttered Peas was specifically requested by Sam, but it was Sid, who polished off the lion's share. It is super simple and delicious to say the least. Melt some butter, along with little oil and add a clove of minced garlic. Close your eyes, inhale the aroma and let it fill all your senses. Then quickly come back to reality, because you don't want your garlic to burn. Tip in thawed peas, salt and pepper. Saute for a minute and its done.







Miss. Cajun Spiced Mixed Vegetables was super simple too. My freezer is always packed with frozen "Steam-in-bag" vegetable. They are God-send when you have less than 30 minutes minutes to put together a healthy, yet tasty dinner for your family. Today a bag of mixed vegetable was steamed in the microwave for two minutes. Onions and crushed garlic was sauteed till brown in a little oil. The steamed veggies went in next followed by a teaspoon of McCormick Cajun Seasoning. Tossed to coat and served hot.



Growing up Sunday lunch and dinner was something we used to look forward to. It was special, with all the family members eating together and then chatting for over an hour sitting at the dining table.

Over here weekends are hectic; grocery shopping, social obligations and extracurricular activities. We invariably end up eating out. For the past few weeks, I am trying to wind up all our outdoor activities by Sunday 4:30 PM. That leaves me with ample time to cook a good Sunday dinner that we all enjoy together as a family.

The other day Sam mentioned that of late, he has started looking forward to Sunday evenings when we have a delicious home cooked meal and then spend the evening doing something together - just the three of us. Hopefully this is start of a tradition that Sid will fondly remember and try to implement when he has his own family.








Recipe Snapshot: Pan Seared Salmon

Serves: 3 serving

What I used:
Salmon Fillet/Steak - 3 (4.5 to 5 oz each) (I usually prefer skinless and boneless fillet, but the Norwegian Salmon had its skin on)

Old Bay Seasoning - 1/ 2 tsp for each fillet

Oil Spray


What I did:
1. Wash and pat dry the salmon fillet.


2. Sprinkle the Old Bay Seasoning evenly on both sides of the fillet. The Old Bay Seasoning has enough salt and hence no extras salt is required. If you do not prefer Old Bay Seasoning, use just salt and cracked pepper. 

3. Heat a cast iron pan or a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking oil.
Since Salmon is an oily fish, it required very less oil. 

4. Once the oil it hot, place the fillet, skin side down. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Do not move the fish. 

5. Once the skin had crisped up, flip the pieces and cook for another 4 minutes, till the flesh looks opaque and done.

6. Remove and serve hot.


Notes/Tip: Alternatively, the salmon fillet can be broiled or grilled too.
Since its a very simple recipe, with hardly any spice, make sure the salmon is of a very good quality. Else it might not taste very good.


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Recipe Snapshot: Buttered Peas
Serves: 3 serving

What I used:
Frozen Peas - 2 cups, thawed
Garlic  - 1 clove, smashed and then minced.
Butter - 1/2 tbsp
Olive Oil - 2 tsp
Salt
Pepper

What I did:
1. Thaw the peas in the microwave.

2. In a pan heat up the olive oil and butter.

3. Once the butter starts foaming, add the crushed and minced garlic.

4. Once you are hit by the heady aroma of the garlic in butter, add the thawed peas.

5. Add salt and cracked pepper and saute for one minute.

6. Server hot.


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Recipe Snapshot: Cajun Spiced Mixed Vegetables 




Serves: 3 serving

What I used:
Frozen Mixed Veggies - 1 bag (10 oz) (cauliflower, green beans, carrots)

Onion - 1 medium sized, sliced

Garlic - 2 cloves, smashed and minced

McCormick Cajun Seasoning - 2 tsp

Olive Oil - 2 tsp


What I did:
1. Steam the frozen veggies in the microwave.

2. Heat oil in a non stick pan over medium heat.

3. The oil is hot, add the sliced onion and the crushed and minced garlic and saute till they are golden.

4. Add the steamed veggies and the Cajun seasoning. The seasoning already has salt, and there is no need to add any extra salt. 

5. Toss the veggies to coat with the seasoning. Saute for a minute or two.

6. Serve hot.


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Diabetic Platter:
With so much focus on the amazing omega-3 benefits of salmon, other unique health benefits from salmon may have been inadvertently overlooked. One fascinating new area of health benefits involves the protein and amino acid content of salmon. Several recent studies have found that salmon contains small bioactive protein molecules (called bioactive peptides) that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. 

Read more of this fascinating article, here.


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