When you work nights, or any long job schedule really, it can be hard to make yourself cook when you get home. You think, I’ve been working already, this feels like work, I just want to lie lazily on the coach and drink a cold beer and wait for my food to be ready. So you turn to takeout and quick unhealthy microwaveable meals, breaking your promise to yourself to eat healthfully. Let me tell you something: making healthy food doesn’t have to be hard.
The key is the beginning. Begin with a flavorful healthy base–a quality protein, a pasta, a vegetable–and you barely need to add more to it for it to be flavorful and satisfying. Salmon is an excellent example of such a base. Flavorful in itself with its strong earthy, nutty flavor, the fish is a great food to turn toward when you’re in a hurry but want to eat a healthy meal that make you feel truly nourished. Greasy pizza is great sometimes, but nothing quite makes your body feel whole like omega- and protein-rich salmon. Add some fruit, and you get a vitamin bonus, too.
The following recipe is one I developed last night while tired and hungry, in the last hours of my shift. I wanted something with heavy citrus flavor, a little sweet, with a little spiciness. I thus decided to make a pineapple salsa with lime for the citrus component, pineapple and honey for the sweet component, some cayenne and paprika seasoning on the fish for a spicy kick, and a cedar plank and garnish of arugula to add a woody, nutty flavor . This dish is simple, requiring little labor beyond mixing ingredients in a bowl and throwing a piece of fish in the oven. You don’t have to tend a sauce on the stove top or endlessly chop ingredients; just let the quality ingredients meld their flavors.
Overall, I was happy with this dish. The pineapple salsa’s tart sweetness provided a nice contrast to the umami flavor of the salmon, and the arugula and cedar plank added an additional level of depth to the dish.
Here is a basic rundown of the ingredients I used:
- Salmon (preferably Atlantic) seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika, baked on cedar plank, if you have one/feel like bothering
- Pineapple salsa: diced pineapple, minced red onion, lime juice, salt, pepper, honey, sliced green onion
- Garnish: fresh arugula (do NOT try to cook it or it will wilt!)