Friday, June 11

grilled salmon with basil butter and fresh tomato sauce

i have embarked on a quest to cook with new foods. some things i've never used because i'm not sure what to do with them, and other things i've never used simply because i don't know where to find them in the grocery store. yes, it's true.

my inspiration for cooking with new foods was an email that came along from cooking light that listed 'the seven best foods for women.' among them were listed kale, couscous, flaxseed and tuna steaks.

so i made out a list and went shopping for a couple of the recipes to begin with, and the first one to make it to assembly in my kitchen was 'grilled tuna with basil butter and fresh tomato sauce.' now, i couldn't find any tuna steaks at the grocery store when i was there, so i opted for the frozen salmon steaks instead. not sure what the nutritional differences are between the two, or if tuna really is better for a person, but salmon became the recipe's anchor nonetheless.

the recipe was included in the list not for the fish, but for the tomatoes. here's what cooking light had to say:

Ripe and juicy, heirloom and cherry tomatoes are an easy food to love. So it's just icing on the cake that observational studies suggest lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes may play a role in warding off breast and cervical cancers. Since no clinical trials have tested the hypothesis, it's not proof positive. And maybe the protection comes from a diet rich in vegetables rather than just one vegetable. If that's the case, consider tomatoes for heart health. After following nearly 40,000 women, Boston researchers conclude lycopene or other phytochemicals eaten as oil-based tomato products may protect against cardiovascular disease.

The right dose: To be determined.But cooking tomatoes, and adding oil, makes lycopene and other antioxidants more readily available.

the assembly:

i thawed the fish and put it under the broiler to bake, seasoned with some salt and pepper. just five minutes on each side and it was cooked perfectly, and still juicy.

the tomato sauce has grape tomatoes, capers, parsley and all sorts of good stuff in it.

and the basil butter was really good. i ran it through my food processor with butter and basil, of course, and some garlic and lemon juice as well. i later finished off the extra on tortilla chips, and it was delicious.

and here's the final product. i really liked it, and would make it again, but scott, who was there for dinner, did not care for it. i think i've come to discover that he likes most things, but doesn't like intense flavors. i made one of my other favorite dishes, salmon cakes with ginger-sesame sauce, a while back, and he liked the cakes but didn't care for the sauce, which had a strong ginger/sesame oil flavor. that, and this dish with two toppings was a little frou frou for him. :-)

here's the recipe:

Grilled Tuna w/Basil Butter and Fresh Tomato Sauce
(serving size: 1 tuna steak, 3/4 cup sauce, and about 1 tablespoon basil butter)


Basil Butter:
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves (i used dried, and also increased the amount of butter)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 t salt
2 garlic cloves, minced

2 t olive oil
1/2 c finely chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c dry white wine (which i actually had some)
3 T capers
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 t sugar
1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (i used dried)

4 (6-oz) tuna steaks (salmon, in my case)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
4 basil leaves, optional


Prepare grill or broiler.

To prepare basil butter, combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Set aside.
To prepare sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and 2 garlic cloves; sauté 3 minutes. Add tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in wine, capers, vinegar, and sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley. Set aside.

To prepare tuna, sprinkle tuna with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place tuna on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce and basil butter. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 323 (28 percent from fat
Fat: 10.2 grams (sat 4.4 g, mono 3.7 g, poly 1.1 g)
Protein: 41.8 grams
Carbs: 10.9 g
Cholesterol: 92 mg
Iron: 2.7 mg
Sodium: 770 mg
Calcium: 72 mg

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