A Fish Tale

By Liz Krieger

Full disclosure: I had a bit of help with this week’s cooking escapade. You see, I spent the weekend at my parent’s house in the suburbs, and the bountiful harvest in their refrigerator was a big reason why I took on an ambitious recipe. There’s something about having so many ingredients to choose from that makes me feel more confident. Oh, and the fact that my mother was in the next room, should I find myself totally flummoxed or otherwise culinary-confused. Since it’s still super hot these days, I wanted to make another dish that wasn’t steaming hot or involved the oven. So I thumbed through my mom’s library of cookbooks and decided upon a really simple salmon-salad dish. It was sort of like a tuna salad but much fancier. In fact, it contained chopped onions, capers, celery, dill and salmon that had been grilled and chilled.

I chose the salmon because it’s one of the best fish you can eat for heart health—rich in omega-3 fatty acids, low in saturated fat and high in protein. Plus, it’s just a super-flavorful fish. Seriously, when you eat salmon, there’s no feeling of deprivation at all! The trickiest part of this whole thing, however, involved the grilling. In fact, this was probably the first time I manned a grill by myself (though I still asked my dad to start it). After that, I just tossed on the hunk of fish (skin still on, at my mom’s suggestion—so it wouldn’t fall apart) and stood there. I kept a tense, bug-eyed vigil, so scared was I of overcooking or otherwise screwing it up. Luckily, grilling truly is the Easiest Thing Ever. And I only sliced into the fish, oh, about a hundred times to check if it was all the way done. (Good thing the fish was intended to be shredded!) After it was chilled, I quickly chopped the other ingredients and mixed it all together with a tablespoon of Smart Balance® Cooking Oil (rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E), red wine vinegar and some kosher salt and pepper. Finally, this is where my mother and her amazingly stocked fridge stepped in, and I have to say she made the final product shine about 10 times better than I would have. Instead of merely plopping the pink salad onto a plate, she whipped out a mango and an avocado and suggested ringing a platter with slices of them. A revelation! Avocadois nutrient-dense (tons of potassium) and has a terrific balance ofhealthier fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). And the mango, of course, gave a burst of sweetness that balanced the savory saltiness of it all.

In the end, this whole salad is truly so head-and-shoulders above my previous dishes in terms of balance, quality and presentation that I have to reemphasize the contribution, again, of my parents, who not only gave all the ingredients, but were there egging me on and holding the baby so any of this could get done! (Assistance with the latter simply cannot be underestimated.)


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