Once upon a time, my dad was a lean, mean fighting machine. Of course he was, he was a U.S. Marine. Around that same time, my mom, standing at 4’11, was a tiny, 90 lb sprite. Even when I was a size 00 as a 13 year old in middle school, I could not fit in any of the clothes she wore at twice my then age. Fast forward 30 odd years later as my sister and I watch terrified at our parents’ ever increasingly unhealthy [eating] habits. “Healthy food is just so…bland!” was my father’s excuse as he went on about boiled chicken.
Really, boiled chicken? C’mon! I gave him, “that look” and told him that he and mom were coming to my house for dinner.
Besides portion control, one of the biggest hurdles in eating healthy is getting over the hump that healthy food can’t taste good. Well, it can. It’s all about flavor and kicking it up in satisfying ways so that you don’t find yourself relying on heaps of salt, sugar, and fats. (My dad is guilty of reaching for the salt shaker before even tasting his food. My mother is guilty of frying everything). Personally, I find pleasing textures (like the crunch of fresh vegetables) also help keep things interesting.
So for the dinner I was preparing to show my parents what a healthy dinner can look (and taste) like, I went with hearty salmon fillets (get it? heart healthy Omega 3s), fiber and vitamin C rich green beans and potatoes, tangy Dijon, and aromatic basil…got all the senses covered except hearing! My father was absolutely floored. Success!
Now if only I could get this to become a habit…
Green Bean Potato Salad
- 1 lb “baby” potatoes or fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 lb thin string beans, trimmed and halved
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp basil, chopped plus extra for garnish
- Sea Salt for cooking water
- Sea Salt and Pepper to season to taste
- In a small bowl, combine Dijon, vinegar, oil, and basil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir with a whisk. Cover and place in the fridge until it’s time to dress the salad.
- Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are just tender, appx 5-8 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add string beans to the pot and simmer. While the string beans cook, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
- When the string beans are tender (about 3 minutes), remove them from the pot and shock them in the ice bath for a few seconds to stop the cooking and preserve the bright color. Remove string beans from the ice bath and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked potatoes and string beans. Drizzle with the Dijon dressing and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped basil if desired.
Dijon Glazed Salmon
- 1 tbsp honey + above Dijon dressing ingredients
- 4 salmon fillets
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 375° F
- In a small bowl, combine Dijon, vinegar, oil, basil, and honey. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
- Pat salmon fillets dry with a paper towel then season with salt and pepper. Place seasoned fillets on a broiling pan or a broil safe baking rack in a baking sheet.
- Brush fillets with the honeyed Dijon glaze and place in oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes then remove fillets and brush with another coating of the honeyed Dijon glaze.
- Replace the fillets in the oven and back another 3-5 minutes.
- To help with a nice browning, turn the broiler on for the last 1-2 minutes.
To serve, place the dressed Green Bean Potato Salad on a plate and top with a salmon fillet.