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Monday, June 4, 2012

Ten Minutes and Healthy to Boot

With garden tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro available in lots of our gardens or at the farmers markets or roadside stands, now is the time to rely on fresh salsa for some quick meals. We all know that salsas gain from being prepared ahead so the flavors have time to blend, but you can still enjoy a wonderful meal with just-made salsa at the center.

Here is the menu for two people:

Sauteed salmon (or similar fish) with fresh salsa garnish
Toasted tortillas with more salsa
Torn lettuce or other greens or shredded cabbage with your choice of dressing
Milk and fresh fruit of choice for dessert

So how does this all come together in 10 minutes? Take a look.

1.  Put the salmon in the microwave on your defrost setting for 8 oz of fish.
2.  As soon as the salmon is thawed, start crisping the tortillas.
3.  Heat the oil while you begin chopping the vegetables. As soon as it is hot, put the salmon in to saute. 
4.  Finish the salsa and tear the lettuce or shred the cabbage (OR use pre-prepared greens). If desired, add some of the tomatoes chopped for the salsa or other fresh vegetables to the greens before tossing.
5.  Put a salmon fillet on each plate and top with a tablespoon or so of the salsa, with the rest in a serving bowl for a dip for the tortillas. Lay three tortillas along the side. Serve the lettuce or cabbage salads in individual bowls.



Sauteed Salmon with Salsa
Salmon
2 four oz salmon filets  (In our part of the country, these four oz packets are often on sale for less than buying salmon by the pound, so I stock up. Other fish like tilapia, etc., are also available in this format and can be substituted here)
1 t canola or olive oil (may need more if you do not have a nonstick or cast iron pan)
seasoning salt (other herbs of your choice may also be used)

Heat the oil until shimmery and then lay the salmon in place. Cover lightly and allow to cook on medium high for about two minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets, until golden brown on the bottom. Sprinkle lightly with seasoning salt and any other herbs you might like and turn. Add a few drops of water, cover again, and continue cooking just until the meat flakes--about two to three minutes more.


Fresh Salsa
2 c coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes--if you have access to both yellow and red tomatoes, use some of each for a very colorful salsa
1/2 c  coarsely chopped bell pepper OR banana peppers OR jalapenos--your choice, depending on the amount of heat you desire
1/4 to 1/3 c diced onion
1 t cumin
1/2 to 1 t oregano, to taste
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, stir well, and taste for seasoning. May be served immediately or can be refrigerated to allow flavors to blend.


Toasted Tortillas

6 six or seven inch corn tortillas

Spread the tortillas across the bottom of the microwave plate--if yours does not have a rotating base, you will need to arrange them in a circle and then rotate more often.
Microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Turn and redistribute and then continue microwaving another 3 to 4 minutes, depending on your microwave's power, until the tortillas are crisp and lightly browned. Serve while still warm for best flavor.


Salad

Is this really a recipe?

Sometimes, simplest is best, especially if going back to basics means you'll actually have a "salad" as part of the meal. Maybe you are too young to remember the Midwestern salad of choice, a wedge of iceberg lettuce with a blob of dressing (usually that sweet, bright orange "French" dressing), but you've probably heard plenty of jokes about it.

Yes, that was about as far from a salad as you are likely to get today, but it still would be better than no greens at all. So let's do an updated version of that old basic.

Most basic:  Start with whatever lettuce or greens you might have available. If they are in a bag, ready torn, dump them into the salad bowls, bring out a bottle of dressing and allow everyone to add their own or pour a small amount on each serving.

Don't forget cabbage. This has more nutritive value than a lot of the basic lettuces and can add some nice crunch to other greens or can stand on its own. Don't think you have to turn it into coleslaw either. While that is good, shredded cabbage takes to just about any bottled dressing you might like on lettuce too.

A step up:  To the greens, add some of those chopped tomatoes that might otherwise have gone into the salsa. Look in the refrigerator. Any baby carrots or broccoli crowns? A piece of that huge zucchini that you can't seem to use up? Some black olives or nuts hanging around? Toss them into the greens and then add the dressing. If you really want to go beyond and have the ingredients and/or the time, add some fresh fruit (halved green grapes, diced apple or pear, or whatever is available) or dried fruit and/or nuts. Top with some grated cheese if you'd like too.

Of course the ultimate:  Make your own dressing. While this is a great thing to do, and it can give more flavor and a lot fewer unpronounceable ingredients, don't be afraid to go with the bottled stuff for the nights when you really, really need a ten minute meal.

















1 comment:

  1. Could you share a homemade dressing recipe? Or maybe you've posted one before and could just direct me to it? Thanks Aunt Helen!

    ReplyDelete