What to Eat Wednesday: Simple Salmon Says

What to Eat Wednesday is a new Wait . . . Dad? Recipe Series . . . cause . . . you know . . . why not? There will be no rhyme or reason other than whatever tasted exceptionally good the previous week, but you may notice I'm a huge fan of quick easy cheap meals that are high in protein, minerals, and fiber, and relatively low on carbs. I say that with the full knowledge that I will be sharing a cast iron lasagna recipe very soon which meets none of the previously mentioned criteria. Since it's new, please send along feedback about either the format or the recipes themselves or share with me your meals that you want me to try. Thanks . . . 

Simple Salmon

Salmon Steaks
Black Beans

Red Pepper Flakes

Fish is supposed to be good for you. I guess . . . whatever. High protein, Omega 3 fatty fat fats, the soul soothing feeling that you haven't killed anything that might have been Wilbur's friend.

At least I don't think there were any fish in "Charlotte's Web." I may have to re-read it just in case.

So yeah, Fish=Good4U.

But . . . c'mon . . . lets face it . . . it's a pain in the ass.

Unless you live on a boat, fresh fish is prohibitively expensive. Unlike chicken, fish has an actual season so it's inconsistent year round. Not everybody likes it. And it stinks.

I should really be a salesman.

Now the easiest way to skip most of that nonsense and still get your Omega 3 fatty fat fats, is to drop a car payment on some pills or eat tuna right out of the can. I don't have that kind of cash, and there's enough mercury in canned tuna to turn your colon into a thermometer. (Twice a week is fine though . . . I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere. Unless you're pregnant or at some point have converted to Celsius)

But my son loves salmon. He'll eat it up like nobody's business. And if ever there was a boy who needed Omega 3 fatty fat fats, and massive amounts of protein, my skeletal progeny is him.

So dauntless I have journeyed far and wide for an acceptable, non-dolphin killing, way of feeding his "Finickiness"

Finding the Fish:
Fresh is best . . . clearly. You go to the fish store, you ask the guy "What's fresh?" he points to something and you buy it and then figure out ways you can justify the purchase for tax reasons. Let's assume none of us can do that. Your next step is the grocery store and you wanna convince yourself that the stuff behind the counter isn't gonna make your house smell like a retirement home. You get it to your kitchen, you open the package and my God why have you forsaken me?

Now you're like . . . frozen is the only way to go. And you're really right. Turns out, because fish has a particular season, but customers like consistency (now now now), so a salmon steak that was caught in January will be frozen first and then thawed in September and then sit for a week or so under the sneeze guard at Safeway, plenty of time for the triethylamine-oxide to convert into ammonia. But . . . if you get the frozen stuff, you skip the rotting on the shelves step. But that's not the end of your problems.

But don't worry, I've done the research. Now the high end supermarkets want to know what your wazoo looks like up close and will charge accordingly. The low end supermarkets, not so much, but are perfectly fine with feeding you shark bait. The best cost to awesome ratio I've found is the frozen salmon steaks at Costco. 6-8 steaks for roughly $22 bucks. Sounds a bit pricey, but at 3-4 bucks per serving you can't beat it. The salmon is fleshy and unstinky, lasts for a good long time, and is hefty enough to go right on the grill. Mmmmm. If you don't have a Costco near you . . . well . . . then it's time to move.

Cooking the Fish:
First, thaw the fish in your fridge. No counter thawing (we're not living in the great depression) A few hours will do the trick. And since it's winter everywhere but here in California, I'm going to wait until spring to roll out the grilled recipe . . . so today we're gonna bake it in the oven. Preheat your oven to 385 and get out a cookie sheet. Place a layer of tin foil on the cookie sheet and then put your salmon steaks on top.

Now here's the important part: Tiethylamine-oxide (the stuff that makes it stinky) is a base (no treble), so if you don't want cats purring at your back door, you need to add some acidity to counteract. Lime juice is my preference for it's subtlety, but lemon works fine too (just don't drench the stuff). Squeeze the citrus, sprinkle some salt, and then cover with another layer tin foil and fold over the edges. This does two things; First, it steams the fish and second, it keeps the smell to a minimum. Cook for around 30 minutes or until you can smell it.

Yes . . . you're gonna smell it. No way around that. But you want it to be pleasant and not make your furniture reek.

Remove the upper tin foil layer carefully, plate it up, sprinkle some salt, red pepper flakes, and parsley. (You don't gotta, obviously, but the parsley freshens the flavor and the pepper flakes give it some heat, and it looks much cooler for your Instagram page.)

You may notice a few things: One the flesh is a much lighter pink than you expected. That's fine. And there might also be some white gooey stuff leaking out of the sides. That's the Fatty fat fat, so scrape it off with a fork (for your persnickety patrons) or eat it.

I personally think steamed broccoli is the way to go here, but green beans or snow peas or a spinach salad with a nice vinaigrette works too. You want everything steamy when the kids hit the table so timing is important. Prep the broccoli just after you put the salmon in the oven, and then wait until the salmon's got just ten minutes left to go, turn on the stove, boil the water and your broccoli should be crisp and bright green when the salmon is ready to go.

I also like to add some earthy meaty-ness to the plate, so my pick is for black beans (canned . . . cause you ain't got all day). But you can also go rice. Neither pasta nor potatoes work here.

Overall Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Days added to your life: 3.7
Cost of a barrel of oil: $57
Omega 3 Fatty Fat Fats: Priceless

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