Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Deconstructed Fish Taco of Steadfast Resolve in The Face of White Bread

Two people that I love are getting married this June, and they have sweetly asked me to be in the wedding. Good and good, right? Yes. Yes! I could not be happier for them. I could, however, be happier for me (hey, it's my blog).

My petty problem? I have this picture in my head of the wedding video: the camera pans past four radiant young things in honeydew green and then pauses thoughtfully on what can only be described as a bridesmatron. A short, lumpy bridesmatron. Sigh. I realize I should get over this, and I promise to come to my senses soon. In the meantime, I'm on a diet. I figured short and relatively elderly are beyond my control, so I'm controlling the remaining variable, and I've put myself on a diet-and-exercise regimen. I began with gusto a couple weeks ago, and chewed my way through a lot of fiber and hardly anything white (good old flour, sugar, and lard, how I miss thee). I got some new jogging shoes, and went for some nice long, um, walks in them (hey, I'm working up to it). All in all, it's going well. But today, I hit the wall. Salad, usually something I enjoy, has come up in the rotation one too many times. I can't pretend to be excited by carrots any more. But I'm not yet at the point where I'll give up completely and swan dive into a cheeseburger and fries. I've still got some willpower left, and I'll have even more if I can eat something that reminds me that food can be a pleasant part of life. So I decided to make something both very healthy and super-delicious, so that I could enjoy myself without slipping into the "Oh, screw it" mentality of the Diet Quitter, which for me is usually signalled by white bread and dairy fat. So, healthy fats, ahoy! How about some salmon? And also an avocado? And also some olive oil? Guess what? This is Delicious.

Salmon filets, one per person, whatever size you prefer

one 14 oz can of black beans
one small clove garlic, minced
two teaspoons lemony olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
zest of one lemon, minced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted

one pint grape tomatoes, halved
one avocado
one small onion, chopped
lemon juice

whole wheat tortillas

Most of the bean dishes I make are mushy and call for a little added salt, so bean-rinsing usually seems superfluous. It's just salt and water, and who am I to say that my salt and water are any better than the bean factory's salt and water? And if I think their salt and water might be sketchy, then why am I eating their beans? For this recipe, though, it's nice if the beans are pretty. So dump them into a mixing bowl, cover with water, swish, drain, and repeat until the water runs clear. Heat the beans in a covered bowl in the microwave, and then mix with lemony olive oil, minced zest, minced garlic, paprika, and cumin seeds. Let it sit so the warm beans can absorb all the goodness while you make everything else.

Make a salsa* with the onion, tomatoes, and avocado. Dress it with lemon juice and salt.

Warm the tortillas.

Cook the salmon however you want. I pan-seared it, but broiling, poaching, baking, and even microwaving would all do the job.

Serves three.

*This dish does lend itself to obsessive arrangement, so if you're in that kind of mood, feel free to slice the avocado thinly and fan it out on the plate, and drizzle oil and pile beans and tomatoes and make little slivers of onions into a funny hairdo on top of the fish and generally go nuts. I just made heaps, and it was still attractive.


Jenn Hrabota Lesser said...

Speaking of know Wednesday nights, black rep. lots of exercise and fun, with good moves for the wedding right?

And the elderly, I'm older than you aren't I, you"re making me so sad.

Another Anna said...

No, no, just RELATIVELY elderly. I don't usually have to stand up in a group of dewy 23-year-olds. Or 25-years-olds, whatever. But dewy!

And salsa? Hoo boy. Maybe. You guys'd just have to promise not to bring photographic devices of any kind. There'd be too many opportunities for blackmail.

Anonymous said...

For rinsing canned beans, you suggest:

"So dump them into a mixing bowl, cover with water, swish, drain, and repeat until the water runs clear."

Oh, how tiresome! It's so much easier to decant (de-can?) the beans into one of those small drainers-on-a-handle (one can fits just fine) and then run them under the tap with the tap on a slow, soft spray. Takes maybe 10 seconds, and after dumping the beans you rinse the drainer with the sprayer. No big bowl to clean, no "draining and repeating" and the beans are pretty, too,

Funky Man T