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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Baked Tangerine Salmon & Asparagus

Freshly baked Tangerine Salmon & Asparagus
Plate me up!

Can you think of a better or more delicious spring weeknight meal than Baked Salmon and Asparagus? The health benefits of salmon are well-known: health-wise antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids delivered in a succulent meaty high protein serving. Salmon is available year round fresh or frozen, sold whole or cut into steaks or fillets. Salmon is also available flash frozen: look for packages with each portion individually wrapped making it easy to thaw and prepare the precise number of servings. On the side serve asparagus, rich in folate, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Garnish the plate with a delicious slice or two of tangerine. If you find asparagus difficult-to-digest use a potato peeler to remove the tough stringy outer layer and cook only the tender inside of the stalk.

This truly is a weeknight meal. It cooks in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prep is a breeze and clean-up is quick: just toss the parchment and give the baking sheet a quick wash and dry. For the family add quick cooked rice or couscous (steamed semolina). Yummy and healthy for everyone.

Baked Tangerine Salmon and Asparagus

4 tangerines
4 (4-6 ounce salmon fillets)
3 tablespoons brown sugar* (see footnote)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder

1 pound spring asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Tangerines & Seasonings
Directions: Remove the fragrant outer zest from one or two of the tangerines to measure 2 tablespoons.  (I use a microplane grater, but a vegetable peeler or traditional grater will also work well. Remove only the fragrant outer layer leaving the bitter white layer with the fruit). Toss zest with brown sugar, salt, pepper, and chili powder in a small bowl or on a small piece of parchment, for easy clean-up. Set aside.

Sqeeze zested tangerines to obtain 1/4 to 1/2-cup of juice. Place salmon fillets in a shallow pie plate and cover with tangerine juice. Marinate 10 to 15-minutes. (Alternatively, marinate salmon in a zip-top bag 10 to 15-minutes, discard juice and bag after use).  Slice remaining tangerines 1/4-inch thick to use for garnish.

Preheat oven to 425F; place rack in center of oven.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (do not use foil, the seasoning will burn and the dish will lose moisture). Place the salmon fillets in the middle of the baking sheet, discard marinating juice. Wash and trim the asparagus, peeling outer layer if necessary. Divide and place on baking sheet to the right and left of the salmon, like bookends. Distribute olive oil over asparagus stalks and toss to coat: season with salt and pepper. Divide the tangerine zest seasoning mixture evenly among salmon fillets and pat gently to adhere to fish. Bake for 16 to 24 minutes checking after 16 minutes to avoid overcooking. The salmon is done when the flesh appears opaque and the fish flakes easily with a fork. When done remove from oven and allow to rest 3 to 5 minutes. Place asparagus on plate, top with salmon fillet. Garnish with tangerine slices and enjoy!

Nutrition: A 4-ounce serving of salmon provides 210 calories, 25 grams protein, 12 grams mono-unsaturated fat and zero carbs.. The carbs added from the asparagus and tangerine slices are complex carbs and support nutritional wellness.

*Brown Sugar - Don't be afraid of the brown sugar in this recipe. When used as an ingredient in a savory recipe will not affect your blood sugar the same as sugar in sweets or a simple carbohydrate recipe. "A sweetener such as sugar, brown sugar, honey, jam, jelly, or preserves is called for when it is needed to affect a chemical reaction that will enhance the flavors and textures of other ingredients." Cooking with Kaye page 15.

Photos by Kaye Bailey and (C) LivingAfterWLS - All Rights Reserved - 2014.
Do more Cooking with Kaye - Get the wildly popular cookbook here: Cooking with Kaye Methods to Meals: Protein First Recipes You Will Love

Try: Pecan-Crusted Baked Salmon, page 106. Learn the method, Crispy Crunchy Coated Fish, page 101, Cooking with Kaye.

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