Salmon dressed in a tangy red pepper sauce {omega 3s for skin plumpness}

I spent a lovely afternoon with Divya from Flavour Fiesta yesterday and I got a glimpse of how the magic happens in her kitchen. I’m telling you, she’s truly a creative genius! I still scratch my head trying to understand how my food experiments frequently turn out disastrous, and Divya’s dishes turns out beautifully every single time! Case in point: today’s salmon recipe. I’m sure many of you have heard that salmon is good for skin health. But my issue has always been – what do I do with the salmon to make it actually taste good? Well if you’ve been wondering the same thing, you may want to bookmark this post.

For the fourth post of the series, I wanted to create a bikini-friendly dish with some delicious salmon. Low-cal, heart-healthy, good for your skin and quick to make – it’s the perfect package for a weekday dinner.

I looked to the Mediterranean and Middle East for my inspiration for this dish. It’s a simple salmon dish with a tangy roasted red pepper and dill sauce served with a side of shallot couscous. For those of you who haven’t tried couscous, it’s a great alternative to rice and cooks in less than 5 minutes, making it the perfect choice for those days when you’re in a rush. Look for it in the rice aisle the next time you go to the market.
Salmon is a great ingredient since it doesn’t need much to bring out its flavour. Just a little salt and pepper and you’re good to go. But to take things up a notch, serve it with a flavourful sauce and you’ll have a memorable dinner. The key to serving salmon is cooking it till it’s just right – not overdone or you’ll have a dry, flaky fish that’s devoid of the rich fatty flavour the salmon naturally has. I always bake salmon in a covered baking dish to allow it to cook in its own steam – rich and juicy salmon every time!

serves 2

2 small fillets of salmon
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 roasted red peppers (jarred or fresh), chopped
1 large garlic clove
2 tbsp chopped dill
2 tbsp chicken stock, low-sodium
salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup wholewheat couscous
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2: Prepare the sauce by blending the roasted red peppers, garlic, dill and chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Note: I used jarred roasted red peppers for this dish for convenience. Since these already have some acid from the vinegar used to store them, I haven’t added any acid to the sauce. If you’re using freshly roasted red peppers, add some vinegar or lime juice to the sauce to round out the flavours.

Step 3: Saute the shallots in 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil for 2-3 minutes on medium heat and set aside.

Step 4: Prepare the couscous. Start by heating the water in a medium pot till it simmers. Turn off the heat and add salt and uncooked couscous. Cover the pot and allow the couscous to absorb the water for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork and toss in the shallots from Step 3 and some freshly ground black pepper and lime juice.
Step 5: Place the salmon fillets in a foil-lined baking dish with skin side down. Pour the olive oil over the fish and sprinkle the smoked paprika, salt and pepper on the salmon. Cover the baking dish with foil and allow the salmon to bake for 12 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve the salmon with the roasted red pepper sauce and couscous. You’re done!

Have you ever wondered why salmon has been hailed as one of the top skin foods by the likes of Hollywood dermatologists such as Dr. N.V. Perricone? I always try to include salmon in my diet whenever I can, but then I thought, why not throw in some other skin-enhancing ingredients while you’re at it? Here’s today’s skin nutrition breakdown…

Salmon: We often cringe at the word ‘fat’, but you actually do need some ‘good fats’ to maintain that youthful plumpness in your skin. Salmon is loaded with omegas 3 fatty acids, which helps to not only promote healthy cell membranes, but it also reduces the production of inflammatory agents that can cause skin damage.

Extra-virgin olive oil: Not only is olive oil one of the best moisturizing ingredients topically, but as a skin food, it provides anti-inflammatory benefits and boasts a long list of antioxidant-rich polyphenols. That’s right, be afraid, free radicals. Be very afraid…

Red peppers: Carotenoids for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties? Check. Vitamin E for cell repair? Check. Vitamin C for collagen stimulation? Check. Low in fat? Check. I honestly don’t know why you would ever omit this vegetable from your diet. If you haven’t already, grab those red peppers, pronto. They pair exquisitely with the salmon, by the way.

Let us know how it goes – leave a comment!


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