As a chef, delicious food is my top priority, and I believe the simplest route to eating well is using great quality ingredients. Even better is making delicious dishes that incorporate healthy, vitamin- and nutrient-rich foods. As a general rule, the more colorful the plate is, the richer the variety of vitamins and minerals. I think I've struck that balance of delicious, nutritious, and beautiful with a spring pasta dish combining 'super food' ingredients.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 healthy fat, and now is the peak season for wild salmon varieties. Kale is one of the most healthful things you can consume: it's packed with fiber and vitamins A, C, and K, and boasts a bevy of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents which make this cruciferous veggie a great tool in lowering cholesterol, linked both to heart disease and risk of cancer. Sundried tomatoes are full of vitamins A and C, and lycopene, a phytochemical that has been shown to lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease as well. Lycopene is fat-soluble, so its potency is increased when paired with the olive oil in this recipe, for example, and processing increases its availability, so a cooked tomato has more bioavailable lycopene than a raw tomato. The garlic is great for fighting off carcinogens as well. And if you want to up the healthy quotient even more, use whole wheat or quinoa pasta for extra fiber and protein.
Beyond all of these healthful benefits, this pasta dish is absolutely delicious -- enough to make any Italian proud! So dig in, and feel good about it. Oh, and serve with a glass of wine, particularly red wine which contains heart-healthy resveratrol. Now you can toast as the Italians do, and really mean it: Alla Salute! (To good health!)
PASTA CON SALMONE, CAVOLO VERDE, E POMODORI SECCHI
8 oz fillet of fresh, wild salmon
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 bunch kale -- regular or lacinato variety, cleaned and sliced into a chiffonade
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 lb. whole wheat or quinoa spaghetti or fresh tagliatelle (or pasta of choice, usually long pasta)
-Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, salt the water generously.
-Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1-2 TBSP. olive oil, and heat until shimmering.
- Sprinkle the dry salmon fillet with salt and pepper and place in pan, skin side up. Cook for about 3 minutes until the fillet is browned and shakes free from the surface of the pan. Flip, and cook for another 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Remove from pan.
- Add the garlic and shallot and cook for about 1 minute. Add the kale, and stir to start cooking the greens down. Add the white wine and cook to evaporate the alcohol for about 3 minutes.
- Remove the salmon fillet from its skin, and roughly chop/flake. Add to the pan along with the sundried tomatoes. Add the chili flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the pasta until tender but firm, al dente. Remove pasta from the water with tongs, or drain in a colander and add it to the pan.
- Turn pasta to coat, adding olive oil and/or salt & pepper to taste, and a little bit of the salted pasta water if needed for consistency, and turn to mix thoroughly. Serve at once.