Salmon Teriyaki with Asparagus

While at REI in Atlanta, I decided to pick up a copy of the April 2012 edition of Men’s Health magazine. Thumbing though the magazine, I came across the article “Takeout That Delivers,” an article about making fresh, healthy versions of popular take-out food. The recipe for Salmon Teriyaki with Asparagus looked delicious, so I decided to try it.

Stir fry salmon and asparagus
Stir fry salmon and asparagus

This version of Salmon Teriyaki is full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D from the salmon. The asparagus also adds plenty of Vitamin K and Folate. Serving the dish over brown rice is also a more nutritious alternative than white or fried rice that comes with most take-out.

Men's Health Salmon Teriyaki with Asparagus
Men's Health Salmon Teriyaki with Asparagus

The best part of this dish is the moist, tender morsels of salmon. The asparagus provides a crunch that balances the softness of the fish. The sauce gives the dish a kick of heat from sriracha sauce with a fragrant ginger that comes through without overpowering the rest of the ingredients. This recipe alone is worth the price of the magazine, but the recipes for Thai Red Curry with Beef, Soba Shrimp Pad Thai, and General Tso’s Chicken with Broccoli make this month’s edition of Men’s Health a must buy.

Asparagus and Zucchini Panini with Kale Chips

A couple of years ago, Jill’s grandma gave us a Wolfgang Puck Panini Maker as a gift. Honestly, I switched out the interchangeable plates and primarily used the panini maker as a waffle maker instead but this week Jill was craving panini for dinner. Because asparagus and zucchini are in season, we used these vegetables as the base of the panini. Kale chips sounded like the perfect, light side dish to pair with our cheesy, crispy panini.

I basically followed the recipe for kale chips featured on the popular food blog Kath Eats Real Food (KERF) using Lacinato Kale and seasoning it with some Hawaiian Red Salt that caught my eye at Earth Fare. Of course, you can always make kale chips with other varieties of kale and kosher salt or other seasonings.

Red salt and washed kale
Red salt and washed kale

Although I may have put a little too much salt on the kale chips, I liked the contrast between the deep dark green of the kale and the bold, clay-like red color of the sea salt.

Kale ready to go into the oven
Kale ready to go into the oven

The ingredient list for the panini is relatively short:

  • Sliced bread (whatever looks best at the bakery)
  • Pesto (store bought)
  • Grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini

To make the panini, spread one and a half teaspoons of pesto evenly over two slices of bread. I used a tuscan boule from the Earth Fare bakery for this sandwich. Then, I sprinkled about an ounce and a half of shredded mozzarella over the two slices of bread. I sliced the zucchini into thin circles and I sliced the asparagus in half and then in half again lengthwise (to keep them from rolling around on the sandwich and also help them cook evenly). Grill the sandwiches on the panini maker until the cheese melted and the bread had golden brown grill marks.

Making the panini
Making the panini

Jill and I split the sandwiches, each taking half of the asparagus panino and half of the zucchini panino. Though we enjoyed both, the consensus was the asparagus panino prevailed over the zucchini panino in taste. I thinkthe way the asparagus was sliced allowed for more mozzarella to melt between the vegetables, giving the asparagus panino delicious advantage over the zucchini panino. The kale chips paired well with the panini, making a dramatic (and healthy) alternative to potato chips. Although it seemed a little strange at first, we followed the KERF suggestions and ate the kale chips with ketchup and loved the flavor combination.

Panini with kale chips
Panini with kale chips

I encourage you to cook up some asparagus while it is in season and to be adventurous enough to make kale chips. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Salmon for Jenna

Since Jill’s sister, Jenna, is visiting us for two weeks, we asked her what she would like to eat for dinner while she is here. Her immediate response: salmon!  For the record, I do actually believe that she meant salmon to be her dinner of choice for each day of her two week stay.

Although it will not likely satiate her salmon cravings for the full two weeks, I planned this dinner for the first night of her visit.  The original menu did not include both asparagus and green beans, but she informed me that she does not like asparagus.

To make the marinade for the salmon, mix together the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 water
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Dash of salt and pepper

I had just shy of a pound of salmon, and this marinade was more than enough. If you cook more salmon, you may want to increase the amount each ingredient. I let the salmon marinate for half an hour.

The marinade

After marinating the salmon for half an hour, preheat the over to 425 degrees. Place the salmon filets onto a pieces of aluminum foil, spoon some of the marinade over the fish, and fold the foil into a little packages. When the oven is preheated, place the salmon packages on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 12 minutes.

Preparing the salmon

While the oven preheats and the salmon cooks, prepare the side dishes.

To make the asparagus with lemony butter and garlic, you will need:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Trim the tough ends of the asparagus.  To do this, take one asparagus spear and bend it gently until it snaps.  Use the point at which is snaps to gauge where to trim the rest of the asparagus.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, carefully add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus and drain off the excess water.

Boiling the asparagus

Melt the butter in a medium pan and add the sliced garlic. Cook the garlic until it starts to brown lightly. Gently stir the lemon juice into the butter and garlic. Add the asparagus and saute for about three minutes or until the asparagus is at the desired softness. I like mine to be a little crisp.

Buttered Asparagus
Asparagus with lemony butter and garlic

If you want both asparagus and green beans, you can begin preparing the green beans while sauteing the asparagus. This simple recipe is made with just the following ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh green beans
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste

Add the green beans to the boiling water (you can use the same water that was used to cook the asparagus) and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, again depending on how crunchy you like your vegetables. Once cooked, drain and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Shred some fresh parmesan cheese over the green beans.

Green beans
Green beans

We served the salmon, asparagus, and green beans with a warm Alexia brand (no, they are not sponsoring us) ciabatta roll. Jenna tried a bite of the asparagus, but stuck with the salmon and green beans. Although the recipe was very different from the last time I cooked salmon and the dinner was very good, it probably won’t be long until Jenna petitions for salmon again.

Salmon, asparagus with lemony butter and garlic, and green beans
Salmon, asparagus with lemony butter and garlic, and green beans