The life of a restaurant critic isn't always healthy. And lately, I've been feeling the effects of a rather luxurious diet. A couple of weeks ago, I came down with a case of food poisoning so severe it knocked me flat out for four days. And just a week before that, my doctor informed me I had high cholesterol and should start taking Omega-3s and watching my fat intake. It was a humbling moment for a 30-year-old guy with no real history of health problems. It made me really evaluate whether what I was doing to my body was right.
I know what you're thinking: "Boo-hoo. The poor, unfortunate critic who gets all his meals expensed is complaining about his diet." It's funny, but when I took this job over a year ago, my corporate boss gave me some strong advice. "Watch what you eat," she said. "And don't eat everything on your plate." I started out following that dictum pretty closely. Pretty soon, though, I was polishing off everything in front of me with gusto. Leftovers really haven't been in my vocabulary as of late. And that's got to change.
Since my job requires me to taste all sorts of dishes, from fatty
burgers to light and healthful salads, I figure I need to get with eating
better when I'm not out and about. I've always been a big fan of fruits
and vegetables, but I also eat way too much cheese, eggs, and meat and
not enough fish. So last week, I decided to run down to local health
food store Tunie's and pick up a couple of dinner options that wouldn't put me on the fast track to a motorized scooter.
One of the first things I went for when contemplating eating lighter
and increasing my Omega intake was salmon. And what I ended up with was
These lightweight, easy-to-cook patties are supposed to satisfy like
only a great American sandwich could, but with only a fraction of the
fat and lots of healthy nutrients to boot. Not to mention, these
burgers are made from only wild Alaskan salmon -- not that
environmentally unfriendly farm-raised stuff.
The box suggests grilling these pinkish disks straight from the
freezer, which lends them a smoky, meaty flavor. I wasn't feeling like
firing up the old Weber the day I made them, so I instead stuck
to cooking them in my trusty cast-iron skillet. With just a smidge of
heart-healthy olive oil, the burger cooked up crisp and hot in about three
minutes per side. Not bad for a healthy dinner.
To dress it up, I decided to keep it light and fresh. I sliced up some
ripe campari tomatoes and stuck them on a sesame-seed bun. Then I made
a simple slaw with green apple, red onion, cilantro, a little
sriracha, and just a dash of rice wine vinegar and a touch of
mayonnaise. The result was epic: The cool crunch of the slaw against
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the warm patty. The meaty, salmon flavor made smooth with the sweep
apple. Along with it, I polished off a bowl of fresh bing cherries and
(just a handful) of corn chips.
Dinner couldn't have been better -- or healthier. That makes this food critic happy.