After a week-long vacation filled with all-you-can-eat buffets followed by the sobering reality that can only come from a high school reunion, today was the day I had to start eating healthy… again.
I keep trying to stick with this healthy eating concept but my plans always seem to get derailed, which I’m certain has absolutely nothing to do with my complete lack of self-control. Instead I’m blaming everyone around me who requests dessert that I have to make over and over until they come out just right. And while I’m at it I’ll blame the crappy Chicago weather for the short growing season and currently uninspiring local produce, and of course let’s not forget my mom because she thinks I blame her for everything (not true, love ya mom!).
Okay, enough with the excuses. Tonight I made a delicious meal for myself that was pretty darn healthy: soy-maple glazed salmon with cauliflower puree. Sure, I used maple syrup in the glaze but it’s a natural sugar, and you can be certain it was pure maple syrup and none of that corn-syrupy fake stuff. And there’s a little bit of non-dairy sour cream in the cauliflower puree, but it’s just the right amount to add a bit of zazz to an otherwise perfectly healthy side dish.
And what did I think of my oh-so-healthy dinner? It was great of course. The salmon was baked with a sauce made from shallots, soy sauce, maple syrup and lemon juice, which was sweet and a little tangy. The cauliflower puree was smooth and creamy with just a hint of tang from the (non-dairy) sour cream, and was enhanced even further by eating it with a drizzle of the glaze. All in all, a good first step.
Here are the recipes:
Soy-Maple Glazed Salmon – serves 2
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 6-ounce wild salmon fillets
Pinch salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Set a small pot over medium-low heat and pour in the oil. Once hot, add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until the shallots become soft, about 4 minutes.
Pour in the soy sauce, maple syrup and lemon juice and gently simmer until the mixture becomes thick, about 4 minutes. Stir often so the sauce doesn’t burn. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes.
Set the salmon fillets skin-side down in the baking dish and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour all the sauce over the salmon being sure to coat well, then place the dish in the oven. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked through.
To serve, set each salmon fillet on a plate with a cup of the cauliflower puree. Use a spoon to drizzle the extra sauce from the baking dish over the salmon.
Cauliflower Puree – serves 2
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons sour cream (or non-dairy sour cream; I like the Tofutti Sour Supreme)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Trim the base and leaves from the cauliflower, then cut the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces.
Fit a large pot with a steamer basket and add enough water so that it almost reaches the holes on the bottom. Fill the basket with the cauliflower. Cover the pot and set it over medium-high heat. Steam the cauliflower for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Transfer all the cauliflower plus 1 to 2 tablespoons cooking water to a food processor. Blend until the cauliflower is completely smooth, stopping a few times to wipe down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve warm with soy-maple glazed salmon.