When I think of Iowa in terms of food, I think fresh corn (make that fresh free corn!), robust, bustling farmers’ markets, and some of the best beef and pork in the country. What I don’t think of, is fish.
As you know, we’re landlocked. Rocking the no coast, if you will, and up until 8-10 years ago it was pretty hard to find high quality fish at grocery stores around here that wouldn’t set you back a pretty penny.
In fact I can say with almost 100% certainty that I don’t think I even tried anything beside shrimp and the unidentifiable white fish we ate at my Grandma & Grandpa’s house every Christmas Eve until I was at least 16 years old.
I had traveled a bit before then even, both to coastal towns in Europe and Hawaii where the fish would have been just Heavenly, but it never occurred to me to order it because it’s just not what I knew. You know?
Well, by the time high school rolled around, my Mom started branching out from the ground beef and pork chop dinners we all knew and loved, and started buying some of the fresh fish that was becoming more readily available, now definitely readily available, in stores like tilapia and salmon.
I considered it a treat when I sat down to dinner and a tender salmon filet was waiting for me on my plate. Salmon? I’d say. Not hamloaf? The pure bliss of it all!
My favorite way she’d prepare it was also the easiest: Salad Dressing Salmon.
All she’d do is marinate the salmon for a few hours in salad dressing – my favorite being raspberry vinaigrette -
then grill or cook the filets in a skillet.
Skin side first for about 3 minutes, so you can peel it right off, then the other side, just until the pink section in the middle turned opaque.
Tonight I recreated salad dressing salmon and placed it on, what else, a salad.
That’s baby spinach sliced up with my trusty pizza cutter, topped with sliced apples & grapes.
Tossed with an equally easy homemade Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. In the mix:
- 1 Tablespoon raspberry preserves
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
This salmon is UN. REAL. A little charred on the outside from the sweet raspberry vinaigrette it was marinated then cooked in, and incredibly tender on the inside.
The walnuts on top add a luxurious crunch to the salad underneath, and help to mellow out the sweet apples and grapes (which was inspired by a timely email from reader Chanti this morning!)
The tang from the balsamic vinegar also helped to balance out the sweet, and the only thing that could have made this salad any better would be warm goat cheese. Lots of warm goat cheese.
Alas, I had none. But seriously, NOT NEEDED. It was so good I let out a curse word. Ben too. Lots. Then he proclaimed himself the healthiest person in America. ?
In other news, Day 3 of the 20 Day Holiday Workout Challenge went splendidly! I thought by today I’d be hating my life, but it was actually fine. I know I’ve only been at it for, well, 3 days, but it seriously felt routine heading to the gym after work. I’d call that…progress??
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How are my fellow 20 Day Challengers doing?
And with that – I’m off (to find some chocolate – muwahaha)!