Peanut Salmon on Arugula Leaves– South Beach Phase 1 Dinner

Summer is slowly creeping up on us– and then quickly changing its mind– and then creeping again.

It’s Pittsburgh though. We’re used to our crazy, nonsensical weather patterns.

The warmer weather puts me in the mood for light dinners, and for me, that means fish. Yuseff made a delicious seafood feast for us on Mother’s Day, but somewhere along the way determined that he bought too much fish, and we saved the salmon filet for dinner the next day.

These days, I can’t just cook without first confirming that my recipe meets the guidelines for The South Beach Diet, so I’ve found that it’s just easier to type “South Beach Phase 1 Salmon” into Google and save myself the extra research on my favorite recipes. I adapted this dish from the South Beach Diet website.

Peanut Salmon on Arugula Leavesprint this recipe

Step 1: Slice half of a cucumber lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Then slice each half into half-moons. Lay on a paper towel and sprinkle generously with salt. Press another paper towel on top and let drain for 1-4 hours.

Step 2: Combine 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter (*see note*), 1 tbsp peanut oil, 1 tsp minced garlic,  and 1/2 tsp powdered ginger in a jar and shake well.

*NOTE* When you are standing in the peanut butter aisle, there are a lot of peanut butter jars with the word “natural” on them. Don’t be fooled. Earlier in the week, we chose JIF Chunky, because we usually buy JIF. The day I went to buy the creamy stuff for this recipe, I went with Skippy, because it was the cheapest brand and I’d already gone way over the food-budget buying diet versions of things that we already had in the pantry. THEN, I did some research and learned that the true-test of Natural Peanut Butter is the ingredient list. It should list no more than the following two: Peanuts & Salt. JIF and Skippy fail this test as they both have added sugar and oil (two of the three big things that you’re supposed to be avoiding in South Beach Phase 1). But, I’m not buying any more freaking peanut butter until all of this, plus our three jars of “unnatural” peanut butter are gone. End of story. Hint: Smuckers Natural PB fits the bill.

Melt the peanut butter in the microwave (60-90 seconds) to make it easier to combine with the other ingredients

Step 3: Heat up a cast iron grill pan and coat lightly with olive oil. Cut four round slivers out of a red onion and grill on both sides until char lines begin to appear. Set aside.

Step 4: Salt and Pepper both sides of a large salmon filet. Grill the fish on both sides, starting with the skin side down, until it’s cooked through.

Step 5: Toss the grilled onions and dried cucumbers with 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1/2 tbsp lime juice, and a little splash of peanut oil.

Step 6: Lay salmon on a bed of baby arugula leaves, top with onions and cucumbers and spoon peanut dressing over the dish. Sprinkle with a 1-2 tsp sesame seeds.

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