This recipe utilizes one of my favorite kitchen cheats, er, techniques- the marinade and the sauce are one and the same, applied differently. Essentially you put some a couple seasonings in a food processor with some yogurt and use half of the mixture for the marinade while reserving half for the sauce. The salmon cooks perfectly in foil packets and stays moist and delicious.
Depending on their fine motor skills and/or how grossed out they are by raw salmon and green things, older kids can even help you wrap the salmon in foil for cooking.
To round out the meal, throw some rice in the rice cooker to serve with the salmon. You can substitute coconut milk for ½ the water if you want creamy coconut rice. For something green on the side, frozen peas, green beans, corn, asparagus, or broccoli would all go well with this. Or, you can simply serve the salmon pieces atop a bed of baby spinach and drizzle the whole thing with some of the reserved yogurt sauce.
Tip: when I’m using fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley, I really can’t be bothered to pull off the leaves individually. So I wash the whole bunch and dry it in paper towels, then grab the whole big hunk of leafy part with my hands, as if I were pulling someone’s hair, and rip it off. You will get a few stems but that’s OK. Of course, if you have a little kitchen helper, he/she might find it fun to take off the leaves individually, so that’s an option too.
Recipe: Gingered Indian Salmon
- 4 4 oz. salmon fillets
- ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt (like Fage)
- 1 Tblsp curry powder or cumin
- 1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
- 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large handful cilantro leaves (if you hate cilantro like Heather does, use mint)
- optional: 1 small hot chili pepper of your choice, stemmed and seeded
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Put everything except the salmon into the food processor or blender and mix until combined completely. Set aside half the mixture to use as sauce later.
- With the remaining yogurt mixture, slather salmon on both sides to coat. Wrap each salmon piece in a square of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold up to seal. Cut a small hole at the top of each foil packet.
- Place foil packets on a sheet pan or cookie sheet. (Cover the pan with foil first if you don’t want to wash the pan later!) Bake in preheated oven 8-12 minutes, until salmon is cooked through. It is done when it’s no longer translucent and flakes easily with a fork.
- Unwrap foil packets and remove salmon to a platter with reserved sauce and some lemon wedges on the side.
More Not-so-secret Hints
Take a shortcut: Skip the food processor and just stir some yogurt, curry powder, salt, pepper, and lemon juice together in a bowl to use as your marinade instead. Bonus points for using the yogurt container instead of a bowl, and saving yourself a dish to wash! You can also forgo making the rice and instead serve this with toasted naan or pita bread to sop up the sauce.
Feed the baby: Smoosh up salmon and rice together. The baby brain needs those Omega-3s!
Picky toddler: Cater to your picky one by separating the meal’s components into little piles. Rice with butter and soy sauce is what the small people in my family go for. I know, super nutritious, right? Maybe you are lucky and your kids like fish. Or maybe you will have to go with a handful of frozen peas.
Lower the calories: Meh, salmon with nonfat yogurt is about as low cal as my dinners get. But skip the rice if you’re serious about this weight loss thing.
Make it fancy: Use forbidden (black) rice… because things that are forbidden are so much more exciting.
Leftovers? Flake the salmon with a fork or your fingers, mix it with a little mayo or yogurt and a sprinkling of salt. Stick it between bread or in a pita pocket- instant lunch! (This is one of my favorite sandwiches, so I purposely make leftovers of this recipe.)
Let us know what you think!
[all photos from Karen Merzenich]