Sneaky Superfoods

As Summer Gives Way to Fall, Let’s Get Cooking With Some Surprisingly Nutritious Fare
Web Local Flavor Vero Oct29
Warm Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad and Mustard-Glazed Baked Salmon

 

When it comes to cooking, we’re all about keeping things healthy and nutritious — but not if it means sacrificing flavor. Thankfully, we’ve come up with a menu this month that packs several nutrient-rich superfoods into one meal that’s so tasty it will have you begging for seconds. 

Eating healthy shouldn’t have to mean depriving yourself; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The more you cultivate a habit of turning healthy foods into favorite dishes, the more sustainable this way of eating becomes. 

It’s that time of year when our calendars start to get a little fuller, snowbirds start to make their way back down, and the temperature outside becomes a bit more bearable — at least enough to start thinking about turning on the oven again. Let’s get back into the kitchen with two recipes that are sure to become “back pocket” favorites, the ones you know by heart and can make without even thinking about measuring ingredients. We hope these two dishes will become weeknight go-tos when you’re looking for something healthy, easy and delicious. 

Our Warm Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad, featuring homemade sourdough croutons, is a fun twist on one of the most popular salads of all time. It’s far more nutritious than the classic Caesar and, we think, even more flavorful. 

Kale is high in nutrients and low in calories, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Many powerful antioxidants are found in kale, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have powerful heart-protective, blood pressure-
lowering, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antidepressant and anti-cancer effects, to name a few. Kale is also extremely high in vitamins C and K. 

Another nutrient-dense food rich in antioxidants, Brussels sprouts are also high in fiber, which can promote regularity, support digestive health, and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Have no fear — creamy Caesar dressing, crunchy homemade croutons, and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese ensure this dish is full of flavor and taste bud satisfaction. It’s a great stand-alone dish, or you can pair it with any protein of your choosing: grilled chicken, shrimp, steak or fish. 

Next, our Mustard-Glazed Baked Salmon is the perfect starting point for any well-rounded dinner. Impressive enough to serve at a dinner party but easy enough to make on your average Tuesday at home, it comes together quickly and offers a beautiful presentation. 

Salmon is widely considered to be a superfood for several reasons. In addition to being a great source of lean protein, it is rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and decrease risk factors for disease. It is high in antioxidants and is an excellent source of several B vitamins, which are needed for producing energy, controlling inflammation, and protecting heart and brain health. It’s also easy to prepare and versatile, pairing well with a number of flavor profiles and side dishes. 

Put these two recipes together and you’ve got one of our favorite cozy-but-healthy dinner combinations, which feels like a good way to jump from summer into fall.

Mustard-Glazed Baked Salmon 

Servings: 2 

When shopping for salmon, ask for a center-cut fillet to ensure even thickness, and leave the skin on for cooking. Cooking time can vary depending on how thick the salmon fillet is; if you end up with an especially thick fillet, add a couple minutes to the cooking time listed here.

  • 1 12-ounce fillet of Atlantic salmon 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard  
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 large lemon, thinly sliced into wheels

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. 

Place the salmon fillet skin-side down on the baking sheet. Rub the flesh of the salmon with olive oil, then use a pastry brush (or your bare fingers) to coat the salmon with both kinds of mustard. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 

Create a “halo” around the salmon using the lemon wheels, so that just the edges of the piece of fish are covered by the lemon. 

Bake for 12–15 minutes on the center rack. To test for doneness, insert a small knife into the thickest part of the fillet and have a peek. If the flesh still looks translucent, put it back into the oven and bake for a few more minutes. 

Cut the salmon into two pieces and, using a spatula, separate the flesh of the fish from the skin. Discard the skin, transfer the cooked fish to a plate and serve immediately.

Warm Kale and Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad 

Servings: 2 entree portions or 4 side portions

This salad calls for a very small amount of Caesar dressing; you may choose to skip the hassle of making the dressing yourself and opt for your favorite creamy store-bought version.

Strip the kale leaves away from the tough stems. Roughly chop the leaves into small pieces and discard the stems. 

In a large cast iron skillet or other saute pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and toss to coat in oil, then season with salt and pepper. Saute the Brussels sprouts, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and turn slightly brown, about 5–8 minutes. 

Add the chopped kale leaves to the pan and toss to combine with the Brussels sprouts, then turn the heat down to low. Continue tossing the vegetable mixture in the pan until the kale leaves begin to cook down and soften. 

Remove the pan from the heat and drizzle Caesar dressing over the warm vegetable mixture, then toss to coat evenly. The residual heat from the pan will help the dressing soak into the greens. 

Divide the warm greens between two salad bowls and top each with a handful of homemade croutons and a generous sprinkling of shaved Parmesan. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Serve immediately, while the salad is still warm.

For the salad:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 10 ounces shredded Brussels sprouts 
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2–3 tablespoons Caesar dressing*
  • Sourdough croutons (for garnish)**
  • Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

*Homemade Caesar Dressing:

  • 1 extra-large egg yolk at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8–10 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Using a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place the egg yolk, mustard, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, salt and pepper into the processor’s bowl. Process until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube, until the dressing becomes thick. Add the grated Parmesan and pulse 3 times.

**Homemade Sourdough Croutons:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 3 thick slices of sourdough bread, cut into bite-size pieces 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toss the bread with the oil, salt and pepper. Toast in a saute pan over medium heat, turning occasionally, until bread is crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Categories: Local Flavor