In Latin America, fish are baked in banana leaves. In France, they are baked in parchment (en papillote). This technique seals in moisture and flavor. Home cooks anywhere can do the same thing with aluminum foil.
By adding a few vegetables, you have a whole meal in a package. It's easy to assemble, pretty to look at and delicious to eat. As an added bonus, it's a healthful meal.
Salmon is a good choice for this cooking method. It is a rich source of omega-3 fat, a polyunsaturated fat that doesn't raise blood cholesterol and seems to have health-promoting powers that lower the risk of heart disease and possibly cancer.
Only certain fish are a good source of omega-3 fats: salmon, mackerel, herring, white (albacore) tuna and sardines. When buying some fish, such as salmon, there is often a choice between farm-raised and wild. Whatever type is selected, fish is always an excellent choice for good nutrition.
Of course, the preparation must be healthful too not deep fried, slathered in butter, or covered in cream sauce. The steam-baked cooking of fish and vegetable in packets is ideal.
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The following recipe creates a dish special enough for company but easy enough for every-day meals.
Oven-Baked Salmon With Snow Peas
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 small leeks, white and pale part chopped fine
- 2 large carrots, cut into julienne strips (width of matchsticks)
- 1/2 lb. snow peas (fresh or frozen)
- 4 salmon steaks or fillets (4 oz. each)
- 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. fresh spinach
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Tear four large sheets (18 x 12 inch) of heavy-duty aluminum foil and lay out on table or counter.
- Place one-fourth each of leeks, carrots and snow peas on each sheet of foil. Place a piece of salmon on top of each mound of vegetables. Sprinkle one-fourth of the ginger and drizzle one-fourth of the vinegar and one-fourth teaspoon oil over each piece of fish. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Double-fold foil and seal tightly, to form four packets. (Leave enough room in the packet for heat to circulate.) Place packets on cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork.
- Meanwhile, rinse spinach leaves and place in large bowl or platter that will fit in a microwave oven. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Cook in microwave at high power 3-4 minutes, checking every minute or so to make sure spinach is tender but not over-cooked. Place one-fourth of spinach in center of each of 4 plates, making a flat bed.
- When salmon is cooked, open packets carefully to allow steam to escape without scalding hands or arms. Transfer contents to top of bed of spinach on each plate.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/4 of recipe):
Fat: 17 g,
Carbohydrate: 19 g,
Protein: 29 g,
Dietary Fiber: 6 g,
Sodium: 188 mg
Diabetic Exchanges: 3-1/2 Lean Meat, 3 Fat, 2 Vegetable