I like to grill salmon, even in the winter months, as a way to break up the weekly routine of stews and soups we tend to cook when the temperature drops outside. I originally saw this recipe, or something like it, on one of the cooking shows several years ago. I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly where I saw it, but it is a dish that has become a regular part of our menu lineup that we make again and again and again, on at least a monthly basis.
One question I often get is whether wild salmon or farmed salmon is better. Like many nutrition questions, there really isn’t a simple answer. From a strictly nutritional perspective, wild salmon tends to have a higher omega – 3 content than farmed salmon due primarily to the type of food normally consumed by farmed salmon compared to the food normally eaten by wild salmon. It is beyond the scope of this post to go into a discussion of the other relative merits of farmed vs. wild (sustainability, etc.) – so let’s move on to a little more detail about the nutritional profile of salmon and talk about the potential health benefits of eating more fish as part of a healthy diet.
Salmon is one of those “superfoods” we often see in the news. It is a good source of omega -3 fatty acids which can help reduce inflammation and which are considered to be good for your heart. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week as part of a healthy diet. The type of omega -3s found in salmon are called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The other type of omega – 3, found in plant-based foods such as flaxseed oil and walnuts, is alpha – linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is considered an essential fatty acid, which means that our body is not able to produce it so we need to include it as part of our diet. In our body, ALA is partially converted to EPA and DHA. EPA has been found to have an anti-inflammatory effect, while DHA has an impact on the development and functioning of the central nervous system and brain. While research is still ongoing about the relative benefits of the different types of omega -3s, adding omega – 3s to your diet has been found to be beneficial for many people (whatever the food source) and a lot of research suggests that most Americans do not get enough omega- 3s in their regular diet. Which brings us back to the salmon recipe…
Salmon tastes great on a cold winter night paired with Harvest Farro Salad and plenty of broccoli or other dark-green vegetables. Add a salad for a second course and you have an easy, healthy elegant dinner that only takes a few minutes to put together as long as you have the right ingredients on hand and don’t mind using the outdoor grill.
Planked Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce (serves 3)
- 14 oz. Raw Salmon
- ½ cup light mayonnaise
- ½ tsp. dill weed
- 1 tsp. rough Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- cedar plank
1. Soak cedar plank in water for 20 – 30 minutes.
2. Mix light mayonnaise, dill, mustard, lemon juice and black pepper in a small bowl.
3. Cut salmon into three servings. Remove cedar plank from water and place salmon on the cedar plank.
4. Remove approximately 1/2 of the mayonnaise mixture into a clean separate bowl, cover and set aside in the refrigerator. This will be used to make the final sauce served on the cooked salmon and you do not want it to become contaminated from touching the raw fish.
5. Using a clean spoon to avoid contamination from the raw fish, spread a thin layer of the remaining mayonnaise mixture on the salmon servings on the plank.
5. Preheat outdoor grill on high temperature. Grill salmon on the plank for 5 – 10 minutes until cooked through.
6. In the meantime, add Greek yogurt to the set aside portion of the mayonnaise mixture which has not touched the raw fish to make a sauce to serve with the salmon. If you have extra mayonnaise mixture from what you used to spread on the raw salmon, THROW IT AWAY! It is NOT SAFE to serve the uncooked mayonnaise mixture that may have touched the raw salmon while you were preparing the fish for the grill.
Approximate nutrition information per serving: 290 calories; 16 grams fat; 2.5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams transfat; 85 mg cholesterol; 420 mg sodium; 5 grams carbohydrate; 0 grams dietary fiber; 32 grams protein.