Shopping for fish can be intimidating. Maybe it’s the fact that half of them are staring at you from behind the counter, as if to say, “Jeez, how did I end up here?” So, if you’re going to do them—and yourself—justice, here’s how to rustle up a fine, fresh fillet. You need to use your eyes and your nose. Look for a cut where the flesh is moist and glistening, with no flat, brown edges. If the fish looks dull, take a pass. Same goes for any fillet with a fishy or ammonia smell. Don’t be shy about asking your fishmonger a few questions, like when the fish came in and from where. Most stores have regular shipments; knowing that schedule in advance can help you plan when to have fish. If black cod were in a band, it would be the bass player: steady, meaty, but not much of a soloist. It benefits from some jazzy front men and especially likes to swing with citrus high notes. You’ll find plenty of those riffs in this dish.
A guest recipe by Andrew Weil, MD
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
3/4 pound small purple potatoes, or French fingerlings
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound skinless king salmon fillet, pin bones removed (provided by Vital Choice)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (organic)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
6 cups salad mix
2 hard-boiled organic eggs, cut into quarters
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
12 Niçoise or Kalamata olives
4 lemon wedges
MAKES ABOUT 3/4 CUP
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 finely chopped anchovy (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
Season the salmon with salt and pepper.
To make the dressing, put the lemon juice, shallot, capers, Dijon mustard, anchovy, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking all the while, and continue whisking until smooth. Alternatively, you can blend all ingredients right in the container with the solid disk of an immersion blender. Add the olives and mint.
In a 4-quart pot, cover the potatoes with cold water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, and let them cook uncovered, until just tender, about 10 minutes.
While potatoes cook, place the olive oil, lemon zest and mustard in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place the salmon on the baking sheet and spread the mixture evenly over both sides of the fish, then season it with 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper.
Roast until just opaque but still slightly translucent in the center about 7 to 9 minutes. Break the salmon into pieces.
Transfer potatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add green beans to the boiling water and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Halve potatoes while still warm and toss with 2 tablespoons dressing.
Toss green beans, cherry tomatoes with a tablespoon of dressing. Toss the greens with enough dressing to coat. Divide the greens among the plates, then add the potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, salmon, eggs and olives. Sprinkle with basil. Serve with lemon wedges with remaining dressing on the side.
Reprinted with permission from Andrew Weil, MD, Fast Food, Good Food: More Than 150 Quick and Easy Ways to Put Healthy, Delicious Food on the Table. Copyright © 2015 by Andrew Weil, Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group. New York, NY.
Tell some people every ingredient in a dish and they’ll never try it. But if you wait until after they’ve tasted a to go into full disclosure, they’ll be pleasantly stunned at what they’ve just eaten. This gluten free meatloaf is kept moist by mushrooms—the idea of my cooking buddy Catherine McConkie—and has great umami flavor from anchovies. Just wait until they’ve tried it to tell your guests.
As a kid, I remember the Ladies Who Lunch coming over to the house regularly to play canasta or mah-jongg. On these occasions, my mom showed me how you could use a fruit as a bowl for salad: she’d serve the pearled grand dames tomatoes stuffed with chicken salad, and that was the inspiration for this dish. I’ve gone for a different mode of transport—an avocado boat—and jazzed up the salad as well. No mayo here, but lime juice, cumin, coriander, jalapeño (za-zing!), olive oil, and avocado provide the diving pond for the shrimp. I think the Ladies Who Lunch would’ve approved.
Scallops are an awesome brain food, full of the omega-3 fatty acid called DHA, which reduces plaque formations in the brain linked to cognitive decline. However, they’re a bit temperamental on the stove. They cook mighty fast, and can turn from tender to eraser-tough in a flash. Pay attention, and you’ll get a plateful of bliss. Here, they’re seasoned with curry and a little coconut and lime, which play beautifully off the scallops’ silky taste.