Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pretty in Pink

On Saturday I talked about inspiration, and how it comes from a variety of locations. Magazines are one of them, and this pretty dinner came from one of those.

I love reading cooking mags, but I usually just look.
It's rare that I'll make one of the recipes I see.
Sometimes a recipe looks awesome but too complex for everyday use; maybe I'm not sure the execution will deliver on its promise.
Food mags provide more entertainment while blogs and cookbooks provide more serious cooking options.
The first time I read the article containing this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it. I dog-eared the page and kept returning to it until my next visit to the grocery store.
I love salmon, but I don't buy it very often because I'm afraid I turn a beautiful fillet into a dry, flavorless excuse for fish. I'm aware that practice would solve this, but I fear the wasting of good fish as I stumble through those few trial runs. This recipe uses canned salmon rather than fresh. I've purchased small cans of salmon in the past, but never one this big; I didn't know they came this way until I was standing in the grocery aisle!
Inside are 2 or 3 large pieces of salmon, sort of like sardines in a can (the body without head or tail). I should have taken a shot of the contents, sorry.

My recipe neglected to squeeze the moisture from the carrot and zucchini, and I think that's an important step to reduce liquid in the dish; you want a moist loaf but not so moist that slices don't keep their shape. My loaf was cooked through but I did have some issues with the slices staying intact. It tasted no less delicious, but presentation suffered.

Each of the four healthy portions of this salmon loaf boasts, for 300 calories:
  • 27 grams of protein
  • 7.5 grams of heart-healthy fats
  • 379 mg calcium
  • 3 mg iron
  • 65 mcg folate, and
  • 4 grams of fiber

Next to a beautiful salad with spinach, mixed greens, tomatoes, and olives, you've got quite a healthy dinner. We loved this meal, myself especially.
I have big plans for the remaining half of loaf: I might chop up a slice and add it to another salad, or place it between two slices of toasted bread for a special salmon sandwich. Or mix with some eggs to make an omelette or scramble.

Salmon Loaf
adapted, serves 4

2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15 oz can salmon, drained
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs fresh thyme, minced
juice from half a lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Grate the carrot and zucchini, and squeeze to remove some of the excess liquid, in a kitchen towel or paper towerl. In a large bowl, flake the drained salmon and add the carrots, zucchini, bread crumbs, milk, egg, onion, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix very well until incorporated and moist. If the mixture is too dry, add a small amount of milk.

Pour mixture into the loaf pan and pack gently into a loaf shape. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the loaf is set in the center and firm to the touch. Slice with a knife and use a spatula to transfer to plates or bowls.
I served this a garnish of (leftover) homemade marinara sauce with goat cheese. Salsa or mustard would also be excellent condiments.



Erica said...

Very nice! I am the same way with recipes in magazines- I rarely make them! For week night dinners, I really need something that doesn't take much time. The outcome from this recipe is beautiful. I bet it will be just fantastic on a sandwich or on top of a salad. Enjoy

Sarah said...

It's perfect for weeknights, it's easy and real fast to make. The longest time for prep is grating/draining the carrot/zucchini and chopping the onion. Quick mix in a bowl and into the oven. If you have 50 minutes before dinner you can pull it off!

Shannon said...

ooh, this sounds good! different than what i'd usually do with salmon, so that is always a plus!