Salmon — A Mediterranean Diet Staple
Sweet and spicy, fresh and rich, this Sweet Chili salmon is a great way to include heart-healthy fish in your diet.
Fish and seafood are a key component of the Mediterranean Diet where it is advised to eat them about 2-3 times a week. Salmon is high in healthy mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats and an excellent source of vitamin B. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that a diet that includes regular consumption of salmon may help to reduce inflammation throughout your body, help reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, make your immune system work better, and protect your heart.
Salmon is delicious and versatile as it can be steamed, sautéed, smoked, grilled or baked.
Typically, it will be seasoned with flavors of orange, rosemary, lemon, mustard or dill. In this recipe I decided to BE BRAVE and utilize a favorite Asian flavor profile instead to create a dish with a unique zing! I love the heat of the sambal contrasted with the sweetness of honey and the additional layers of ginger, lemongrass and cilantro.
This month the Upstate International organization in Greenville SC is celebrating “Upstate International Month – essentially a celebration of people, cultures, languages and arts from around the globe. My contribution all this month is to BE BRAVE and utilize seasonings and spices that create Asian flavor profiles to healthy dishes that follow the principles of the Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle. This recipe puts a distinctively south-east Asian flavor to a fish not naturally found in that part of the world.
So, I invite you to BE BRAVE and make this easy, week night dinner. Serve it with just a side salad, steamed broccoli or with white rice and chopped cucumbers. Asia is an exciting place for your taste buds to visit!
Sweet Chili Salmon
4 pieces of salmon (1½ – 2 lb total weight)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons Asian Sambal Oleak (or Chili Garlic sauce)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Zest from one lime
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon ginger, grated or minced very fine
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lemongrass, either paste or fresh and minced fine
¼ cup water or 3 ice cubes
Sliced green onions
Sliced red fresno chilies
Drizzle of O&V Roasted Sesame oil or O&V Lime Grape seed oil
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of foil (makes for easy clean up). Place salmon on the baking sheet ensuring that the pieces of fish don’t touch each other. Make a couple of parallel slashes in the salmon about 1 inch apart, and about halfway through the thickness of your salmon (the cuts help the seasonings to get into the fish for better flavor and the culinary term for this is scoring).
In a bowl whisk together cilantro, honey, sambal, soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, rice vinegar, ginger, fish sauce and lemongrass.
Spoon ¾ of the sauce over the pieces of salmon. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 15-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425F. Remove salmon from the fridge. Add water (or ice cubes) to the pan – don’t pour the water over the salmon, just into the pan.
Bake in oven for 8-12 minutes until the thickest part of salmon is fully cooked (pink, opaque, and a fork is easily inserted)
Serve immediately drizzled with the remaining sauce and garnished with green onions, lime wedges and sliced fresno chilies
Active Time: 8-10 minutes Total Time: 30 – 65 minutes
* The Roasted Sesame or Lime Oil added at the end enhances the flavor of the dish tremendously, but you can also drizzle with a high quality unflavored extra virgin olive oil.
Categories: Entrees, Dairy Free Option, Gluten Free, Salmon, Asian Sambal Oleak, Chili Garlic Sauce, Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Lemongrass, Ginger, Lime, Sweet Chili Salmon, Easy Weeknight Meal, Mediterranean Diet, Asian flavors