In the hope that something has been learned from past experience, I’m scaling back on my New Year’s resolutions. No more grandiose plans to walk two miles a day (or even to walk every day); shed 10 pounds; completely reorganize my rat’s-nest office; or eat more healthfully.
In case you wonder, I won’t be providing any embarrassing reports of either personal achievements or failures. (There are enough “big loser” sorts of TV shows out there to satisfy any interest in intimate, humiliating details.) In fact, unless I make enough progress on office cleanup to post a pic (highly unlikely) probably the only evidence you’ll see of any of my plans being carried out is an occasional posting of a healthful fish or veggie recipe. There will definitely be NO before and after shots of me, although since my goal is losing only three pounds you probably wouldn’t notice any difference anyway!
Fresh Salmon and Vegetable Chowder
I know that not everybody thinks that eating salmon is a healthful step. The naysayers point out that it’s sometimes contaminated and that farm-raised salmon have a negative environmental impact.
Those who recommend salmon mention the benefits of its Omega-3 fats, which help reduce inflammation in our bodies. (Inflammation is thought to be a root cause of many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancers and arthritis.) Recently, some studies have shown that omega-3 fats may help slow cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline and help alleviate depression and aggressive behavior.
In any case, this convenient meal-in-a-bowl recipe is definitely on the healthful side because, in addition to the salmon, it features a lot of vegetables and is low in fat. It’s fairly fuss-free, savory, and nutritionally well-balanced. The flavor will be greatly enhanced by the addition of either fresh dill weed or dried tarragon leaves: Each herb lends its own distinctively different and appealing character. Fresh dill weed isn’t always readily available in markets, but is well worth using when you can find it. (Don’t bother substituting dried dill weed; it has very little taste.)
Tip: Be sure to check along the fleshy side of the salmon fillet and remove any bones along the lateral line before adding it to the pot.
1 tablespoon corn oil, canola oil or other low-saturated fat cooking oil
1/2 cup each peeled and chopped carrot and diced celery
5 1/2 to 6 cups low-fat reduced-sodium chicken broth (or reconstituted reduced-sodium chicken bouillon from granules), divided
1 12-ounce fresh or frozen (thawed) north Atlantic salmon fillet (skin intact), cut in half if very thick
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) cauliflower florets, coarsely diced
3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives or scallions, plus more for garnish, if desired
1/4 cup chopped fresh dillweed (coarse stems removed), or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon, plus more for garnish, if desired
1 1/3 cups instant mashed potato granules, preferably low-sodium
1 tablespoon prepared mustard, preferably Dijon-style
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a 4-quart saucepan or similar-size soup pot, combine the oil, carrot, and celery. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to brown. Add the salmon, searing 1 to 2 minutes on the flesh side, then laying skin-side down. Add 2 1/2 cups broth and bring to a simmer. Poach the salmon, uncovered, for 6 to 10 minutes or until just cooked through. Place it skin-side up on a cutting board. Add the cauliflower and chives (or scallions) and dill to the pot. Cook until the vegetables are almost tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape off and discard the salmon skin. Flake the flesh into bite-sized chunks using a fork.
Gradually stir the mashed potato granules and mustard into the pot until well blended. Stir in 3 cups more broth until evenly incorporated; thin the chowder with more broth if desired. Bring back to a boil. Add the salmon and reheat until piping hot. Add black pepper to taste. Garnish the chowder with small sprigs of dillweed and fresh chopped chives before serving if desired.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts, 3 or 4 main dish servings.
Check out ne of my fave healthful one-dish meals, lentil-rice soup here.