It is time for a buddy check; my trusted buddy & best friend comes over for a quick check on my gear and surprisingly she asks “where are your weights?”. It seems everything else is in place, except for one tiny little issue; really who’s to say it’s a big problem… well apart from the fact that I won’t be able to go down at all, but I forgot to put on my weight belt! If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m talking about scuba diving, any other insinuation is in your head. It must have happened to all divers at one point in their life; at least I hope I am not the only one. But truth to be told: my memory sucks.
|Photo courtesy Moni|
Absentmindedness; what a common sign of the era we live in! With all the run-in-circles all day, one errand after the other, working everyday of week including weekends most of the times, not getting enough rest and also not always eating the proper food for us. I am definitely not the person to advocate on what foods have best sources of vitamins or minerals; or how many kiwis you should consume per day. I’ll leave that to The Doctors, Dr. Oz, health magazines, gym flyers, etc… However when it comes to the numerous times my poor memory contributed to burning food I left too long on the stove top; or going out and en route realizing that my mobile phone is still home on the couch; or worse: when I actually forgot how barracudas look like! Yes it happened, I thought they were cute looking fish that are worth admiring and was very astonished why my diving buddies were reacting so weird and out of fear under water! Only in those moments I start vowing more care towards what I devour.
|Photo courtesy Rob Umphray|
Some say, he eats fish everyday… Oh wait, that’s The Stig intro line… correction: Doctors say we should eat food that contains more Omega 3 fatty acids everyday as it strengthens our memory, fights Alzheimer’s and is good for the heart. The list includes numerous varieties such as walnuts, cashews, pecans, flax-seed or oil; Edamame and/or cold oily fish to name a few. Adding nuts to everyday food consumption is one easy step as it can be added to any salad, or eaten alone as a snack.
But when I like to add more than just cashews to my salad, I go for fish, such as herring, anchovies, sardines or salmon. I enjoy eating fish frequently, not only to increase my memory efficiency for I’m afraid that is a hopeless case, but also for they are simple to cook, don’t require too much preparation or lots of clean-up afterwards; and are low on calories.
The star of my favorite fish-dish is steak cooked in a ginger, lemon grass & lemon sauce. There are different sides that could accompany it: steamed veggies, plain/with salsa pasta, steamed rice or with spices… and it can be with mashed potatoes like in this recipe.
Another beauty of this meal is: it is dairy-free! The parsley butter is totally optional; you can omit it from the recipe and it won’t affect the exquisiteness of the salmon.
Oven baked Salmon steak with mashed potatoes & parsley butter
2 x 200 g salmon steak
4 x lemon grass, chopped into pieces
300 g fresh ginger, peeled
100 ml lemon or lime juice (more or less according to your taste)
1 oven roasting bag
5 medium sized potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
100 ml of ginger-lemon juice (leftovers from cooking the salmon)
Salt and pepper to taste
50 g unsalted butter, softened
3 sprigs fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves with skin on (more or less according to preference)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 160°C and position rack in the center of the oven. Wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil, place on a baking tray and bake for about 10 min until they are soft and fragrant. Take out and leave to cool a few minutes before peeling off their skin.
In the food processor; mix butter, parsley and the garlic until well combined, season with salt and pepper.
If you have shaped ice cube molds that you can use, add the soft butter mix to it and set in the freezer. Alternatively wrap butter in cling film and roll to form a tube, about 2 cm in diameter, so you cut it into disks before serving.
Increase heat to 200°C. Prepare a baking tray and add the oven roasting bag on it.
Finely grate the peeled ginger, move to a sieve and squeeze the pulp until all juice is extracted from it, about 200 ml. In a medium size bowl add the ginger juice, lemon juice, chopped lemon grass and marinade the salmon in it for about 15 min before cooking.
Layer roasting bag with the sliced potatoes first (while on the baking tray), and then add the salmon steak face down on top of them. Add all the juices, tie bag well. Bake for 10-12 min until salmon is almost cooked.
Take out the salmon from the bag and put on a roasting tray, cover with foil & keep aside until the mashed potatoes are done. Keep leftover juice to use.
In a medium sized saucepan put the potatoes slices, mash them with a fork as fine as you prefer, I like to keep them a bit chunky. Place pan on medium heat and slowly add 2/3 from leftover juice in small quantities, not all at once; while whisking until it reaches the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Right before serving, heat up the remaining 1/3 juice and allow to thicken. Uncover the salmon and put under a broiler until it browns.
Plate up salmon steak and pour the thickened sauce on top, add mashed potatoes and sprinkle with chopped parsley.