Loving the BITE: Roasted Salmon with Parsley Walnut Relish

Ancient Greeks used parsley to adorn their champions.  This week, we’re gonna eat it.  Parsley is much more than a decoration or a trophy, it’s a Super Food that can fight and reduce risk of cancer, neutralize free radicals that damage cells, give you a healthy smile, and promote heart health.  In this week’s delicious Loving the Bite recipe, parsley really sings.

Recipe of the week: Roasted Salmon with Parsley Walnut Relish

(adapted from www.foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons diced roasted red pepper (or fresh red pepper, diced)
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 2-to-3-pound piece wild salmon (about 1 1/2 inches thick)

Instructions:

Make the relish: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, 7 to 10 minutes. If using fresh red pepper, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and cook alongside walnuts.  Let cool, then finely chop and transfer to a bowl. Add the cayenne, lemon juice, honey, roasted red pepper, walnut oil, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste and toss to combine. (The relish can be made up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Make the salmon: Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley, the chives, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the salmon. Lay skin-side down in a baking dish and roast until just cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter and top with the walnut-pepper relish.

Serves 6; Calories: 446; Total Fat 27 Grams; Saturated Fat: 4 Grams; Protein: 46 Grams; Total Carbohydrates: 3 Grams; Sugar: 1 Grams; Fiber 1 Grams; Cholesterol: 125 Milligrams; Sodium: 207 Milligrams

Comments:

Even though it provides just 2 small calories, a serving of parsley has a lot of nutrients to offer.  In fact, it contains a few extraordinary nutritive components that aren’t found in many foods.  This week, you can optimize your health by adding parsley.  It’ll give you:

Volatile oils:  Parsley contains volatile oils, specifically myristicin, that inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, especially tumor formation in the lungs.  What’s more, its volatile oils can neutralize carcinogens that get into the body, such those found in cigarette smoke.  They can increase the production of our super-antioxidant friend glutathione, and thereby reduce damage to cells.  As athletes, we need our bodies to be toxin free as possible!

Antioxidants: First, Luteolin is a special flavonoid found in parsley.  When combined with free radicals, it functions as an antioxidant to prevent damage to cells.  Then, it contains vitamin C.  Vitamin C is the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant and it functions to decrease the free radicals that contribute to plague formation in arteries, cancer, diabetes, and asthma.  Generally, it boosts the immune system.  Thirdly, parsley’s vitamin A works as a fat-soluble antioxidant.  It works with vitamin C to reduce risk of disease and damaging free radicals.

Folic Acid: Folic acid is an important B vitamin that plays many roles in the body.  For heart health, it contributes to the conversion of homocysteine into a harmless molecule in the body.  Why is this important?  High levels of homocysteine can directly damage blood vessels, and are associated with a significantly increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

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