The holidays are over but the extra pounds are still hanging around. It's time to make good on the New Year's resolution to eat healthier and lose weight.
You don't have to go to a spa. You can make your own low-fat, low-calorie spa-style meals at home by steaming fish and serving with simply prepared vegetables.
The mono-unsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids of the salmon and sesame seed oil in the following dish offer rich flavor as well as health-protective substances. The olive oil in the pureed squash served with the salmon provides the desired creaminess with a minimal amount of fat. Pureeing vegetables like squash - or peas, beans, or carrots - gives a "comfort food" texture that provides an interesting contrast to that of the fish.
Steamed Oriental Salmon with Pureed Squash
Makes 4 servings
- 4 lbs. butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
- 4 Tbsp. non-fat cream or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 4 3-oz. skinless fillets of fresh salmon
- 8-12 fresh snow peas (optional)
- To prepare pureed squash: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash halves cut-side down in a baking pan. Fill pan with water about 1/2-inch deep. Bake squash 30 minutes. Turn squash over and bake 30 minutes more, or until tender. Remove from oven and transfer squash to plate and allow to cool until easily handled.
- Scoop flesh from skin of squash. Transfer to a food processor or blender to puree. While pureeing, add lime juice and just enough olive oil to make a smooth puree. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
- In a covered container, store pureed squash in refrigerator until ready to use, up to three days. Heat in microwave before serving with salmon.
- To prepare salmon: Place ginger, vinegar and sesame oil in a small bowl and whisk until well blended. Transfer to non-stick baking pan large enough to hold salmon pieces. (Pan should have a depth of at least 1/2 inch.)
- Add salmon and turn to coat on all sides. Marinate up to 2 hours in refrigerator. Before steaming, bring to room temperature and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To steam salmon, select a large pot in which the pan of fish will comfortably sit. Inside the pot place a heat-proof stand or rack* on which the pan can sit high enough to prevent 3 to 5 inches of simmering water from splashing onto food - about an inch above water level. Add enough hot water to pot so it comes 3-5 inches up side of pot.
- Carefully place pan with fish on stand or rack. Bring water to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and steam fish until almost tender. Add snow peas to top of fish. Cover and continue steaming until fish is completely tender and snow peas are tender-crisp.
- Meanwhile, reheat squash puree and divide among 4 plates in the shape of a wide letter "c." Carefully remove fish from steamer and place a fillet in the inside curve of pureed squash on each plate. Glaze top of salmon with any juice left in baking pan. Place snow peas (if using) between salmon and squash, as a garnish. Serve immediately.
*A stand can be improvised by removing both ends of an empty food can that contained juice or vegetables, for example.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
16 g. fat,
3 g. saturated fat,
29 g. carbohydrate,
19 g. protein,
8 g. dietary fiber,
61 mg. sodium
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Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 Medium-Fat Meat, 3 Vegetable