Week 29, Meal 1: Salmacado salad and the no-oil salad dressing

I think years of processed and fast foods muddled my expectations of what food could be, because every time Chef Brian puts together an all-star dish, I’m like “Dang, this is the best thing ever. How’d he get fill in the blank to taste like this?”

For this dish, the “blank” is a salty-sweet honey and fish sauce glazed salmon sitting on a salad of creamy avocado and tropical fruit. A no-oil salad dressing, made with light coconut milk and peanut butter, and punctuated by jalapeno, shallot and cilantro, tie this whole plate together. It’s fresh fare prepared with care; light, but enough to satisfy this fat dude.

While the fish was fresh, the protein for my other two salads went bad within a day (thanks Whole Foods), and because I’m on a blogging budget, I’m holding off on making those other two salads until I can afford to next week. But without further ado, here’s Week 29, Meal 1: Glazed salmon over spinach salad with mango, avocado and coconut-peanut dressing.

Week 29, Meal 1: Glazed salmon over spinach salad with mango, avocado, and coconut-peanut dressing

12 oz. salmon (2 6 oz. pieces)
1 T fish sauce
1 T honey
1 T water
salt and pepper, to taste
cooking spray, as needed

5-6 oz. baby spinach
1 avocado, large diced
1 mango, large diced

2 T light coconut milk
1 lime, juiced
1 T fish sauce
1 T peanut butter
1 T water
1  jalapeño, minced
1 t honey
1 T cilantro, chopped
1 shallot, minced

Start by making the salad dressing. In a blender or Magic Bullet, combine 2 T of light coconut milk, the juice of  1 lime, 1 T of fish sauce, 1 T of peanut butter, 1 T of water, 1 t of  honey, 1 T of cilantro, jalapeno and shallot. Blend until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste.

While you’re on the cutting board, drop the large dice on 1 avocado and 1 mango. Place in a bowl and reserve in the fridge. Cover the surface with plastic wrap if you’re afraid of the avocado browning quickly, though mine didn’t.

In a small bowl, wisk together 1 T of fish sauce, 1 T of honey and 1 T of water. This will be your glaze for the salmon.

Season 2 6 oz. pieces of salmon with salt and pepper. Spray cooking spray in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat and place the salmon in the pan skin side up, cooking for 4-5 min. until golden brown (I think I stopped mine  just before burning  it completely, but it was actually cooked perfect for me. Tender flesh and a nice crust.)

After browning the one side, flip salmon to skin side down and baste the salmon with the glaze until the salmon is cooked to your preference and the glaze adds gloss to the fish.

Chef Brian said he prefers his salmon medium, which took about  2-3 min. after turning the fish to achieve.

While the fish is resting, rinse 5-6 oz. of spinach and dry with a salad spinner. Season the greens lightly with salt, then dress to your liking. Finish with black pepper, to taste.

To plate: Lay dressed spinach out on a flat plate. Spread it out instead of piling it up. Split the mango and avocado between the two plates and top with salmon. Garnish with leftover cilantro to finish.

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