Calgary

Julie Van Rosendaal: 6 ways to eat more fish

Most nutritionists agree it’s a good idea to eat more fish. Here are six ways from Julie Van Rosendaal to get more of it onto your dinner table.

Supermarkets are stocked with a 'better-than-usual supply of sockeye'

Here are some savoury suggestions for getting more fish on your dinner table. (Julie Van Rosendaal)

An abundant salmon run on the coast has led to a better-than-usual supply of sockeye in local markets. 

Most nutritionists agree it’s a good idea to eat more fish. All are a good source of protein, but some species are low in fat and others are high in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. 

Here are six ways to get more of it onto your dinner table.

1) Plank it

Planked salmon (or trout, or halibut) is simple to prepare, the plank acting as a buffer between the delicate fish and intense heat of the grill. It also infuses the meat with flavour as it smoulders. Experiment with different food-grade wood planks besides the usual cedar, which are generally sold in the seafood department of most grocery stores.

Soak your plank for at least an hour, then place it on a preheated grill until it starts to smoulder. Place your fish on the plank (no need to do anything to it but sprinkle with salt and pepper), cover and cook for about 20 minutes. It’s a good idea to have a spray bottle of water on hand in case of flare-ups.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

2) Simmer a Curry

If you’re nervous about overcooking your fish, simmer it in something saucy like a curry. Pair with peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach or whatever veggies are in season and sound appealing.

Thai Halibut Curry

  • canola or olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper 
  • sliced 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (including stems)
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1-2 tsp. Thai red or yellow curry paste 
  • 1-14 oz. (398 mL) can coconut milk
  • juice and zest of a lime 
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1-250 g halibut filet, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • a handful of baby spinach (optional)
  • steamed rice, for serving
  • extra cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

In a large, heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil and sauté the pepper for three to four minutes until soft. Add the cilantro and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the curry paste, coconut milk, lime juice and zest and fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring until the sauce thickens. Add the halibut (and spinach, if using) and cook just until the fish turns opaque. Serve warm over steamed rice topped with extra cilantro and a lime wedge.

Serves two to four.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

3) Roast it

For an almost instant dinner, unwrap your salmon filets and spread them with pesto (or equal amounts grainy mustard and maple syrup, or equal amounts honey and soy sauce with a bit of crushed ginger and garlic). Top with a few thin lemon slices if you like and roast at 400 ̊F for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. That’s it.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

4) Wrap it with prosciutto

For something simple yet fancy, take small, thick halibut filets, spread them with pesto (or don’t — just sprinkle with salt and pepper) and wrap in a thin slice of prosciutto, mummy-style.

Prosciutto-wrapped Pesto Halibut

  • 4 small halibut filets
  • 3 T. basil pesto
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 ̊F. Pat halibut dry with paper towel. Spread each with basil pesto, and then wrap in a slice of prosciutto. Brush each with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set a large ovenproof skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and cook the wrapped filets seam-side down in the skillet for two to three minutes until golden on the bottom. Slide the skillet into the oven for about 10 minutes until the fish is firm and the edge flakes with a fork, but the meat is still moist in the middle.

Serves four.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

5) Make some burgers

Moist, fatty salmon and steelhead trout make fabulous burgers. Roughly chop filets and shape by hand, then cook in a hot skillet for dinner in under 20 minutes.

Salmon or Steelhead Trout Burgers with Caper Mayo

(Adapted from Food Network’s Ricardo Larivee, who recently launched an English version of his popular food magazine, with huge thanks.)

Burgers:

  • 1 lb skinless salmon or steelhead trout
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 Tbsp. chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grainy mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • canola or olive oil, for cooking

Caper Mayo:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 Tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

Other items needed: soft buns, lettuce, tomato, thinly-sliced cucumber.

Roughly chop the salmon or trout, and combine it in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Set a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Shape the mixture into four patties and place them gently into the pan; cook until deep golden on one side, then flip and cook on the other side. 

They should cook through and be crusty and golden in about five minutes. To make the caper mayo, stir together the mayo, lemon juice, capers and pepper. Spread on the buns and top with salmon patties, tomato, lettuce and thinly-sliced cucumber — and a little more caper mayo. Serve immediately.

Serves six.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

6) Cook it whole, in a pan

Rainbow trout are inexpensive and can be cooked whole. Season with salt and pepper, stuff with thin slices of lemon or orange and fresh sprigs of dill, parsley, thyme or cilantro (or all of the above). Cut a few slits in the skin on top and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle more oil into a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat; add the fish and cook for a couple or until firm to the touch.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Van Rosendaal

Calgary Eyeopener's food guide

Julie Van Rosendaal talks about food trends, recipes and cooking tips on the Calgary Eyeopener every Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. MT. The best-selling cookbook author is a contributing food editor for the Globe and Mail, and writes for other publications across Canada.

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