I don’t think I tasted any fish until I was in my twenties. I don’t think Friday nights eating deep fried no-name fish count. (As my friend Peg so logically asks, “Can’t you eat fish other nights, too!?!”) The frozen Mrs. Paul’s fillets don’t count either. And as much as I love shellfish, and have since I was a kid, shrimp is an ineligible competitor.
But when I first tasted salmon, I was sold from the get-go. It was meaty, had texture, this wonderful pink color and it didn’t smell – or taste -- fishy. And now I know that not only is it good, it’s really good for you. Full of those wonderful Omega-3 rich fatty acids that form a shield against heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and a host of cancers. “Modest amounts” the experts say, 2 to 3 times a week.
And then there are pistachios. More sturdy soldiers to protect me. Although all nuts aren’t exactly stingy on the calorie end, they’re great disease armor, too. “A handful of pistachio nuts a day can help destroy bad cholesterol, ward off heart disease and prevent cancer,” according to a Penn State study.
That’s a double whammy! The fact that they’re two of my favorite foods made this recipe easy to swallow and easy for me to tell Mr. Rosemary, “But honey, it’s healthy!!” (Well, except for the little bit of sugar.)
And it’s easy to prepare, except for the fact that I had to shell all the nuts, and broke a nail in the process. The only thing to be careful about is to not overcook the salmon. It’s easy to do, especially when you’re dealing with the thin pieces I’m able to get. Unless I make a special trip to the “big city” I need to rely on frozen fish here and salmon, since it’s a firm fish, holds up to freezing really well. For me it’s a workhorse and I’m glad it’s working hard for me in return, keeping me healthy.
Pistachio Baked Salmon
slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
1 cup salted dry roasted pistachio nuts, chopped
½ cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried dillweed
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
6 6-ounce (each) skinless salmon fillets
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl combine pistachio nuts, brown sugar, lemon juice, dillweed, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside for a minute.
Line a baking pan with foil, spray it with vegetable and place the salmon on it. Spoon mixture onto salmon pieces and press lightly to form a crust.
Bake for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how thick your pieces are.
Makes 6 servings. About 390 calories each.