As a kid I (Regina) remember eating fish mainly during Lent, usually in the form of fish sticks, salmon cakes such as these Omega Patties, fried shrimp or fillet of sole. Do you? I always looked forward to it but it wasn’t a regular part of our family’s meal repertoire. Fast-forward many years and, even though there is an ocean of fish available your patients probably aren’t making it a regular part of their dinner rotation.
The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults eat fish at least twice weekly. Fatty fish such as catfish, halibut, salmon, striped sea bass, and albacore tuna are particularly recommended.
One of the obstacles to eating more fish is that it’s perishable so when patients buy it they have to cook it in a day or two. With busy schedules it’s difficult to depend on their meal planning so buying a piece of fish is a commitment they may not be able to keep. The other issue is price, since fish is more costly than many other protein sources many people are afraid to make the investment unless they can be assured it will come out perfectly.
Solutions to both those quandaries may already be sitting in your patient’s pantry. Regular canned salmon, with skin and bones, skinless, boneless, “premium” canned salmon and portable pouches of salmon all work perfectly for busy schedules.
Here are a few culinary medicine tips to help patients increase their weekly fish intake:
- Mix it into pasta, casseroles or on top of a salad.
- Toss it with a combo of Greek yogurt, light mayo and dill for a salmon salad sandwich.
- Crumble it on whole grain bread, top it with low-fat cheese and place it under the broiler for a melt.
- Mix it into a favorite low-fat dip or spread and eat it with raw vegetables.
- For a treat…smoked salmon on whole-grain toast with light cream cheese or goat’s cheese.
- Keep pouches of plain or seasoned salmon in their desk drawer for a quick lunch or snack with crackers.
For a delicious and easy dinner try my favorite Omega Patties recipe below.
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 15 ounces canned salmon, drained, or 1½ cups cooked salmon
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1½ cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Heat 1½ teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in dill; remove from the heat.
- Place salmon in a medium bowl. Flake apart with a fork; remove any bones and skin. Add egg.
- Mix well. Add the onion mixture, breadcrumbs and pepper; mix well. Shape the mixture into 8 patties.
- Heat remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Add 4 patties and cook until the undersides are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn them over onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining patties.
- Bake the salmon cakes until golden on top and heated through about 15 minutes.
- Serve over salad, vegetables or on with Yogurt Dill Sauce if desired.
- Combine ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt with ½ cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber, 2 tablespoons chopped dill and ⅛ tsp salt.