Monday, June 11, 2007

Linguine with Fresh Salmon and Tomato Sauce

This is a great recipe if you love Salmon. There are such a mingling of other flavors that even if you are not over the top about Salmon, I think this dish would be okay. Salmon is such a good idea nutritionally that I am always glad to find recipes with it in them that aren't overpoweringly fishy, in hopes that my husband will like them. This one works, well!

Linguine with Fresh Salmon and Tomato SauceServes 4

8 ounces skinless salmon fillet, cut crosswise into 2” pieces
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups cubed tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup nonfat sour cream
8 ounces uncooked linguine

Sprinkle the salmon with the dill, salt (if using) and pepper.

Coat a large no-stick frying pan with no-stick spray. Add the salmon and cook over medium heat for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the pieces are cooked through. Remove from the pan and break into bite-size pieces.

In the same pan, combine the tomatoes, scallions, parsley, garlic and oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft. Stir in the sour cream and salmon. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling water until just tender. Drain. Serve topped with the sauce.

Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Source: Prevention's Healthy One-Dish Meals in Minutes

I don't use a "no-stick" pan. I don't even own one. I had a non-stick set some years ago.... let's just say, I'll never own another. I am very happy with the Belgique copper bottomed pots, pans, frying and sauteing skillets, and larger pots and double boiler that I have. The only other cookware I use is Le Creuset. I used my Le Creuset 3 1/2 quart Buffet Casserole for this recipe. I did use the cooking spray. I really like the Organic Olive Oil Pam. I use the Organic Olive Oil for savory recipes, and the All Natural Butter Flavor for sweet. Also, I hold off and wait to add the parsley about a minute or so before I add the sour cream and I skip the salt. I usually use whole wheat pasta... since it was a Salmon dish I went ahead with the regular semolina stuff. Turned out I did not have to. Jon, liked it.

I want to make sure that I mention that studies done on the nutritional value of salmon did not show any benefits for fish, salmon or any other type, that had been fried. Thought I’d better get that right out there. That yummy deep fried Cod or Walleye fillet at Culver's is not going to give you the nutritional value potential that you could get if it did not have that delicious fried breading on it. So if you eat that kind of thing and say, well at least it’s fish..... :-( not gonna fly. But if you don’t fry the salmon, here are a few of the nutritional benefits.

  • Salmon is low in calories and saturated fat. However, it is high in protein and has an amazing health producing fat, omega-3, which is an essential fatty acid. These fats are essential (hence the name) for our bodies to be healthy, yet we don’t produce it. Salmon are much higher in these fatty acids than their warm fish brothers. These fatty acids are an incredible benefit to the cardiovascular system. They cause the blood to be less likely to clot reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. They help in preventing erratic heart rhythms (a favorite feature of mine personally). This omega-3 in salmon affect the production of hormones and as a result keep the platelets in our blood from sticking together, creating an environment for better blood flow and anti-inflammatory effects. Omega-3 also stimulates the secretion of leptin. This wonderful little hormone helps to regulate food intake. So, salmon actually has been proven to help with obesity and so type 2 diabetics can seriously benefit from this cold water finned friend. These little wonders also are protective against cancer. It also increases heart rate variability (HRV) and this reduces the risk of arrhythmia and, or sudden death. My mom died like that right before my eyes. It was sudden and horrible all at the same time. PLEASE, GET YOUR OMEGA-3!
  • Salmon is high in niacin and vitaminB12. These are necessary for the chemical process required to process the fats in blood. Consequently, overall cholesterol is lowered.
  • Containing significant amounts of the trace mineral selenium, salmon is a cell repairer. Another cancer reducing benefit.
  • I could go on and on... salmon is a really beautiful thing! I will wrap this up just by saying that salmon also contains ample vitamin B6, magnesium and phosphorous. All yummys for your overall health.
Tomato:Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C, are a good source of vitamin A, potassium and iron. The red pigment is called lycopene. Lycopene is an amazing antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body that can damage cells. Recent studies show that lycopene has twice the antioxidant property as beta carotene. Harvard has done significant research on the lycopene in tomatoes and discovered that 10 servings per week reduced prostate cancer in men by 45 percent, and 7 servings per week of raw tomatoes lower the risk of developing rectal colon and stomach cancers by 60 percent. Nitrosamine is a compound that is formed in the human body and the most toxic carcinogen in tobacco smoke. Tomatoes contain coumaric acid and chlorogienic acid. These compounds block the effects of nitrosamines and reduce the possibility of lung cancer, significantly.

Choose tomatoes that are vibrant shades of red. The redder, the better. The more color on your plate, the healthier (and tastier). This is an indication of high amounts of beta carotene and lycopene. Raw is great, but cooking tomatoes releases the lycopene which is located in the cell wall of the tomato. Some research indicates that cooking them in olive oil helps your body absorb the lycopene better. Other research has shown that the tomato and olive oil combination generated increased plasma antioxidant activity by around 20%. Did I mention we planted three varieties of tomatoes? Some will come in 45-50 days (Early Girl), some 70-75 days (Better Boy), and some 80 days (Beef Master) after germinating. :-)

I think herbs often get underestimated in their nutritional value. Think about it though. Herbs are, and have been successfully used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Parsley acts as a diuretic and can help kidney function as well as gout. It offers good antioxidant protection and counters anemia. It is best to use Parsley fresh; add it at the very end, right before serving. This will maximize its folic acid (folate) and vitamin C. Toss it in with your salad green. It adds color (unless it is a spinach salad) and bursts of flavor.

Olive Oil:
As much good press as Olive Oil has gotten there is probably no need to get wild and crazy here. But, I think there are a few things worth mentioning even if they are pretty common knowledge.
Olive oil is heart healthy, a sugar regulator, it will reduce the effects of arthritis and asthma, it has been proven a cancer inhibitor, and among other things it can help maintain lower body weight.

  • Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants such as vitamin E, chlorophyll and carotenoids. Because of the presence of the compound oleuropein, the LDL cholesterol does not oxidize and therefore can’t cause plaque to form on the artery walls. This significantly lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack.
  • Since olive oil substantially reduces the amount of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, or fats, in your blood, it helps reduce your risk for developing Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes.
  • By using the healthy fats in oIive oil our bodies produce natural anti-inflammatory agents. The awful affects of arthritis and asthma are considerably reduced as a result. Dementia and osteoporosis are not as noted in regions where olive oil is consumed in ample quantity.
  • An onogene is a gene that will turn an host cell into a cancer cell. This gene is associated with fast growing breast cancer tumors. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil, when it is used along with drug therapy, will reduce the affect of the oncogene. Prostate and endometrial cancers can be countered by the ingestion of olive oil as well. Consuming other fats has been linked to colon cancer. Preparing meat by cooking it in olive oil presents the wonderful antioxidant properties of olive oil to the degree that some research is beginning to show that the amount of carcinogens is reduced.I want to take just a second shed a little light on the grades of olive oil.
  • And now for the perk of the oil that most people don’t know about, but embrace once they discover. Olive oil can actually help you lose fat. The British Journal of Nutrition revealed that a “...significant loss of body weight and fat mas can be achieved without increasing physical activity and making only one change in eating habits; the substitution of olive oil for saturated fats.” Two groups with four men in each, ate similar foods for four weeks. The only difference was that one group ate more saturated fats than unsaturated. The other ate the same amount of calories as the first group, but their consumed fats were mostly monounsaturated fat, olive oil. When the four weeks was over, the men from the second group were lighter and had a lower body-fat index than the men that consumed the saturated fats. There are other research findings that back the results of this study up as well. Kinda wonderful, huh?
I want to take just a second shed a little light on the grades of olive oil.
  • Fine olive oil means the olives have gone through a second pressing.
  • Refined olive oil means that the olives have been pressed using chemicals and charcoal. Avoid these.
  • Pure olive oil is a blend of refined and virgin olive oil. Not a good choice.
  • Cold pressed simply means that heat was not used to extract the oil. Heat destroys antioxidants and other nutrients making cold pressed the best choice.
  • Extra virgin olive oil, EVOO for you Rachel Ray fans, comes from the first pressing of the olives and has the lightest flavor and the most antioxidant properties.
I use Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil that is First Cold Pressed. Store the your olive oil in a cool, dark place. Once opened, olive oil may also be refrigerated to increase shelf life.

If Salmon is on the menu, typically lemons are hanging about somewhere. As you can see, this is not a dish that you might squeeze lemons on. So, since my husband is not crazy about lemons... I made limeade. I took fresh blackberries (he loves red fruit of any kind) and froze them on a skewer, and then added English Mint leaves from my herb garden at the top. Although the limeade was very cold, the blackberries acted as ice cubes. I did not add any sparking water, but I did get the idea from Kelli over at her beautiful blog. And, the next thing off of her blog to do is make this Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layered Cake. Thanks Kelli! A few fresh strawberries and a wonderful loaf of Sunflower Nut bread...... Voila delicious and healthy summer dinner!


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