Nutritionally dense and something of a superfood, oily fish can be an important part of a healthy diet.
Fish tend to be rich in two groups of fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These fats are not abundant in the standard North American diet. DHA and EPA, along with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in things like flax, fall under the subheading of omega-3 fats. EPA and DHA, often cited as being the beneficial components of fish, actually originate in algae, which are the base of the food chain for fish. Fish consume algae and concentrate the EPA and DHA.
What effects do the fish oils have?
- Cell membranes remain sensitive to hormones.
- Genes that use fatty acids for energy are turned on and genes that promote fat storage are turned off.
- Low grade inflammation can be prevented, which can promote health and alleviate pain.
- Healthy brain tissue and neurotransmitters stabilize, leading to improved mood and focus.
- Cholesterol and triglyceride levels are moderated.
- Blood vessels remain elastic, leading to controlled blood pressure.
- Steroids and stress hormones released from the adrenal glands are balanced.
- Eating about 2 servings per week (e.g., 8 ounces total) of fatty fish is enough to get the minimum amount of health promoting fatty acids.
How to Pick Fresh Fish
As far as whole fish, you can usually tell just by looking at the eyes – they should be clear, not foggy and sunken. With fillets, if the surface is dried out and tired looking, that’s not a good sign. The fillet should glisten, like it was just cut, and should smell fresh, not fishy.
- Skin-on Salmon Fillets (two fillets, about 1 inch thick)
- 1Tbsp sunflower oil (or grapeseed oil) <– high smoke point
- salt and pepper
- fresh dill and green onions for garnish
…for the sauce:
- 3Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Combine broth, cream and lemon juice in a small pan and bring to simmer. Right away bring heat to low, season with salt and pepper, cover and gently simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse salmon in cold water and pat dry. Add sunflower oil to the skillet large enough to fit both fillets in one layer. Set the heat on high. In about a minute and a half it will be hot enough to…
- … lay the fillets skin side down and turn the heat down to med right away. Season the exposed side of the fish. Leave the fish alone for 3-5 minutes, depending on the fish’s thickness.
- Turn the fillets over using a spatula, making sure the skin is attached to the salmon. Season the other side. Cook for another 1-5 minutes (the way you like it done).
- Serve skin side up, pouring some sauce over it. Garnish with chopped dill and green onion.