NEW YORK CITY — Salmon is a wonderful fish packed with beneficial oils, protein and other nutrients. The omega-3 fatty acids in the fish help reduce inflammation and excessive blood clotting and may have even more far-ranging effects such as inhibiting cancer cell growth on top of being delicious.
And like chicken, salmon is a protein that is basically a blank canvas — it can be used in a variety of flavor profiles from Southern to Indian and be prepared using a host of techniques, from grilling to sauteeing, to broiling and poaching, each with a unique texture and finish.
In this case, the fish gets a spicy rub of cumin, turmeric, coriander and cayenne (you can substitute curry powder), seared until crisp and finished in the oven until it is cooked through. The heat of the fish is balanced by a tzatziki that is so thick that you won't be able to believe that the yogurt is non-fat.
But the star of the dish are oven-roasted Brussels sprouts finished with figs and balsamic, which also compliment the spicy zip of the fish.
The miniature cabbages, which can be found loose or attached to a stalk, don't have to be steamed to death, which turns them into a pale green, stinking mess. Oven-roasting brings out their sweetness and gives them a wonderful char while preserving some of the veggie's bright green color.
Salmon: 2 filets, about 6 oz. each, skin on
Spices: coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric
Small container of non-fat Greek Yogurt (7 oz.)
1 Cucumber — or two Persian cucumbers (great because they have fewer seeds and are sweeter)
Bag of Brussels sprouts
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice each sprout 3 or 4 times — this will ensure even cooking and allow crisping — and place in a large roasting pan.
3. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to combine with the chopped garlic. The sprouts should lay in a single layer in the roasting pan.
4. Place in the oven and roast until the sprouts are browned, about 15 minutes. Toss once halfway through.
5. Meanwhile, start the tzatziki. Place the yogurt in a bowl and mix with a spoon until smooth.
6. Peel the cucumber and then slice in half lengthwise. Slice each half lengthwise again and then chop into quarter-inch slices.
7. Finely chop a small bunch of parsley and mint and combine with the yogurt and cucumber.
8. Add the juice of a quarter of a lemon, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar to balance out the acid. Set aside.
9. Heat a large, stainless steel pan on medium-high heat.
10. Meanwhile score the skin side of the salmon with cuts about a half inch apart. The cuts, which should penetrate barely into the flesh, will let a lot of the fat in the salmon run out and make the skin crisp.
11. Rub the flesh side of the salmon with the spices and set aside.
12. When the pan is hot, add a tablespoon of neutral oil, just enough to coat and place the fish skin side down.
13. When the fish is opaque about 2/3 of the way up, flip each filet using a fish slice or slotted spatula.
14. Let the other side brown, about 3 or 4 minutes.
15. You can either serve at that point, or allow to finish in the oven for another couple of minutes if you want the filets more well-done.
16. While the fish is finishing, combine the sprouts with some fresh figs and a swig of balsamic for sweetness.
17. Place the fish on the plate with a scoop of sprouts and a touch of raita on top.
18. Dig in.