For most people, January is a reset button. We know it’s the most popular time of year at the gym, carbs become the enemy again, hot chocolate gets swapped for green juice, and kale is king. Very few people want a reminder of the foods they were indulging in the two months prior. So naturally, I thought it wise to deliver a healthy recipe this week to help encourage all who are trying to make positive adjustments in their diet. BUT that being said, what makes this recipe sooooo amazing is that it is healthy enough for the first week of January, but is so delicious and gorgeous it could be served on any occasion throughout Winter, and to people that aren’t on any kind of diet or detox. It IS allergen friendly, low carb, paleo (could even be Whole 30 approved if the honey was omitted from the glaze), and is full of Omega 3’s, as well as antioxidant rich from the pomegranate. Sold? Well, I am, and I already ate it.
Pomegranate is possibly… no, IS my favorite winter fruit. I have always favored them. In fact, I remember when I was little waiting all year for pomegranates to be in season. I’d pull apart each cave portion of little pom “jewels” or arils, painstakingly pulling each one out by hand. I also would only munch on the outer part of the tart and sweet arils, then spit out the inner seed, which was a lot of extra work and I got really messy. I’m glad I came around to the idea in time that it was good to eat the little guys whole. I am also glad I discovered faster ways to get all the seeds out (a.k.a. score the pom and pull apart to split in two—don’t cut all the way through it—and beat the back of each half with the flat side of a large spoon into a bowl of water. Seeds sink, any membrane that comes out with them rises to the top of the water, and cleanup is easy. Fortunately now, there are also a gazillion tutorial videos out there with similar and alternative methods). I get just giddy when I see poms start to appear in stores and at farmers markets around late October and I’m really sad when they start to dwindle in supply around the beginning of February. So make this now, while you still can!
The first time I had this dish must have been about 10 years ago, at my friend Erin’s house, when her mom, Cindy, made something very similar for us. I’d had fruit salsas and chutneys on fish before, but this was unique. I could not get enough. It was fresh but still wintery, bright but filling. There were a lot of dietary restrictions at the table and I was impressed that it was so flavorful and festive--full of my favorite things—that all could enjoy despite the various dairy, gluten, and red meat free preferences. I never got the recipe she used, but took a mental note of all the flavors I could detect, and set out to recreate my own version. Years later, I'm still obsessing over it, and this is the recipe I’ve reproduced based on that initial love-at-first-bite moment. It comes together very quickly: you whip up a very fast, basic glaze to pour over the salmon, then, while it is baking, make the salsa, and voila! You have an elegant, nutritious main in under 20 mins. I know you guys will love this one.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
For the Salmon
4 Salmon Fillets, 4-6 oz each*
2 Tbs olive or avocado oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp (dried, ground) coriander
1 tsp honey, agave, or maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
*Wild Caught is always my reccomendation. If Salmon isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute another fish! Good substitutes could be Arctic Char, Striped Bass, or even Swordfish.
For the Salsa
1 avocado, diced
1 handful (about 6-7 sprigs) cilantro, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and finely minced
4 green onions, finely sliced
Salt to taste
WHAT YOU'LL DO
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your salmon:
Rinse and pat dry your fillets and place on a lightly oiled, parchment or foil lined baking sheet, skin side down.
Combine the oil, cumin, coriander, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and spoon out evenly over the top of the salmon fillet, covering the surface as evenly as possible.
Bake for roughly 12-13 mins in a preheated oven. Remove and let rest for at least another 2 mins before plating.
Note: If your fillets are particularly tall or meaty in some places, like closer to 2 inches high, it may be more like 14-15 mins bake time, but if they are a thinner fillet (like 1 inch or less in height) maybe less time, like 10 or 11. You can tell when salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork. Unfortunately it’s not an exact science like, let's say cupcakes because not every fillet is the same size. But what I can tell you is I prefer to take salmon out of the oven before I think it’s completely done and let it rest. The fish will continue to cook a bit as it cools to a serving temp and then I don’t have overcooked salmon on my hands.
While your salmon is baking, make your salsa! De-seed your pomegranate and put the pom jewels in a bowl, along with the diced avocado, jalapeño, green onion, and cilantro. Zest a bit of the rind from the lime into the salsa if desired and then squeeze the juice from it into the bowl. Toss together lightly (so the avocado pieces stay in tact) and then season with salt to taste.
Top each salmon fillet generously and serve!