Last night a documentary called The River of No Return was on Nature, a PBS presentation. A wolf biologist named Isaac Babcock and his wife Bijornen, took a year trek along the Frank Church-River, in the Idaho Wilderness. As you can imagine, much of the show dealt wolves, but the biologist also spent time filming other species like birds and fish. The mountainous area is so pristine and the photography is gorgeous. It was especially moving to see the images of the salmon swimming upstream against the full force of the river having to jump into and over the waterfalls in their struggle to return to the spawning grounds. Salmon are born in fresh water then they live most of their lives in the ocean. They return to fresh water to lay their eggs. Their journey home is Homeric.
Watching that show last night made me feel that salmon was the perfect finish to our 38th power foods blog group. This fish is a symbol of power and strength. As a food it provides our bodies with essential anti-oxidants and vitamins. It has both DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which are omega 3’s that help lower cholesterol, and are the components you’re looking for when you buy fish capsules. Check with your doctor to see the amount of DHA and EPA you should be taking. The salmon’s pink hue comes from the krill the fish eats which is full of powerful antioxidants like selenium, and astaxanthin. It’s also rich in vitamin D, B6, and B12. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, it’s best to eat wild salmon. Farmed Atlantic salmon should be avoided because it poses environmental problems and doesn’t the same nutrients. Check the Monterrey Bay Aquarium page to see best choices when choosing.
If you’re looking for an easy, but delicious and memorable dinner to prepare, try wild salmon with pesto wrapped in filo. It’s easy to put together and it bakes in just 20 minutes. In this recipe the dough is brushed with olive oil, which is a healthier choice than brushing with butter or using puff pastry. And the pesto is dairy-free, cutting back on the additional fat and calories as these pouches are very filling.
Servings: 4 Prep Time: 35 minutes Cooking Time: about 20 minutes
Cookie rack of same size
Ingredients for Dairy-Free Pesto:
2 ounces fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups)
2 small tooth garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt to taste
1 box filo dough
4 salmon filets, skin removed (5 to six ounces each)
1/3 cup pesto
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Procedure for the Pesto:
1. Place the garlic in a food processor and process 10 seconds. Add the salt, basil, and the pine nuts and then process a few seconds. Next, slowly add the olive oil.
2. Scrape the sauce into a small bowl and cover with plastic.
Procedure for the Salmon:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°
2. Line the sheet-pan with aluminum foil and then place the cookie rack in the pan.
3. Wash the fish filets and then pat them dry.
4. Lay down one sheet of filo dough horizontally on the counter and brush it with a thin layer of olive oil.
5. Lay a second layer of filo dough on top to the first sheet and brush it with the oil. Next, take the side end and fold it over so the corners meet. Brush the top with oil and lay a ½ sheet of dough over the top.
6. Spread 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of pesto on top of the dough about the same size as the salmon filet. Set the fish on top of the sauce and then brush the dough with oil. Fold in the sides of the dough, and brush the top with oil, and then set the fish pouch on the cookie rack. Make two angular slits in the top of the dough, each about 2 inches long. Repeat this whole procedure with the remaining filets.
7. Bake the fish pouches until they are golden brown —about 20 to 25 minutes.
Today is the last day of our blog group which has been talking about and writing about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine). It’s been a lot of fun! I’d like to thank all the participants who have taken part in this collaborative effort, and especially to those who crossed the finish line. I’m looking forward to our next group hosted by Alyce at MoreTimeattheTable.blogspot. It will be a once monthly post and the subject is Ina Garten. If you would like to participate please contact Alyce at afmorgan53(at)yahoo.com.