Most resolutions fall into two big categories: eating better and saving money. This dish can help you do both in a way that is a luxurious treat rather than a penance. Eating more fish and vegetables ranks high on the healthful “to-do” list; here, you get both: in a savory layer of chopped artichoke hearts (mixed with sun-dried tomatoes, capers, parsley and garlic and bound with creamy ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses) piled high atop a gorgeous fillet of salmon.
The recipe’s weeknight ease and under-30-minute start-to-finish time might just tip the scales in favor of cooking instead of more expensive takeout, but the big money-saving (and convenience) feature here is that the fish (and artichokes, for that matter) can be pulled directly from your freezer. Frozen fish is more economical than fresh; it’s often “fresher,” because it is flash-frozen right after being caught, and it is handier than you might realize, because, as I recently learned, it can be cooked without being defrosted.
It was a “Wow! Really?!” moment for me when I came across the “Cook It Frozen” campaign on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute website. Then I noticed that Deputy Food Editor Bonnie S. Benwick suggested the method for a #DinnerInMinutes Creamy Halibut a few weeks ago. The technique works remarkably well, and in the accompanying recipe, it can be put to good use toward a delicious double-decker weapon in your arsenal to keep those resolutions.
Krieger blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.
Salmon prices are rising
Salmon farms in Norway and Scotland, two of the world’s largest exporters, have been decimated by sea lice, a parasite that feasts on the blood and skin. Farther south in Chile, a toxic algae bloom has killed enough of the fish to fill several Olympic swimming pools.
That has contributed to a drop in worldwide farmed salmon production of 8.7 percent over the past year, according to the Financial Times, and a 15 percent jump in prices in the last three months.
Analysts predict portions to shrink - and prices to rise even more.
Roasted Salmon With Artichoke Topping
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets, fresh or frozen (not defrosted)
1 teaspoon olive oil
One 12-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and finely chopped
1/2 cup part-skim or whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 vacuum-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
If you’re using frozen fish, rinse it under cool water to remove any ice, then pat dry. Brush with the oil on all sides, place in a baking dish and roast for 8 minutes. If you’re using fresh salmon, just brush it with oil and place it in the baking dish (either skinned or skin side down).
Meanwhile, combine the chopped artichoke hearts, ricotta cheese, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium bowl, stirring until combined.
Use your hands (be careful if the baking dish is hot) to pack the artichoke mixture on top of each salmon fillet so that it conforms to the shape of the fish; there will be a lot on each portion. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes per 1-inch thickness of fish if using frozen, and 9 to 12 minutes per 1-inch thickness of fish if using fresh, depending on your desired degree of doneness.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition per serving (using part-skim ricotta): 390 calories, 44 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 550 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar