Friday, January 6, 2012

Alpha and Omega . . . 3 That Is

Thai Noodle Salad with Chili Glazed Salmon
The numerous benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are no secret. Research suggests a diet rich in these "good fats" improves brain function, cardiovascular health, and can reduce pain and inflammation. One of my absolute favorite (and most delicious) sources for this miracle fat is salmon- pink, tender, and flavorful salmon. Eating my doctor-recommended two servings of fish per week is no problem. Especially when the "prescription" is so tasty. But even more that that, I always just feel good when I eat salmon for dinner. This may have to do with the healthy brain benefits of Omega-3s, but I'll just say it's a "good mood food." I put together this quick "Thai" noodle salad as a new spin on an old favorite. This is a great dinner for two- double it for the whole family and everyone can enjoy the benefits of Omega-3-induced euphoria.

- 2 6-7 oz. salmon fillets
- 1 avocado, pitted, halved, and sliced
- 8 oz. udon noodles
- 1 carrot
- 1 medium sized cucumner
- juice from 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. grape seed or vegetable oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp. chili pepper jam
- 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced and divided
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely grated
- salt and pepper
- 3 green onions, trimmed and chopped

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Boil a large pot of water on the stove. While waiting for the water to boil, make the dressing. In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar, pepper flakes, hot sauce, 2 Tbsp. of the oil, garlic, and 2 Tbsp. of cilantro. Peel the outer green layer from the cucumber and then using the vegetable peeler slice thin ribbons lengthwise into the bowl of dressing. Do the same with the carrot. Add the sliced green onion to the bowl and toss the ingredients together. Set aside. After the water has boiled, cook the udon noodles according to package directions (likely 3-4 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss noodles together with the carrot and cucumber mixture.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season salmon fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook in heated oil 3-4 minutes per side until a golden brown crust appears. Place skillet in the oven and cook the salmon an additional 4-5 minutes until it is cooked through. Remove salmon from oven and brush each fillet with a tablespoon of the chili pepper jam. Divide noodle salad among two plates. Garnish with avocado slices and top each with a salmon fillet. Sprinkle each dinner with remaining cilantro. I think you're going to enjoy this fast (and healthy break) from hot and heavy winter soups and stews!

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