Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lemon salmon with lima beans

(title sung to the tune of "Country Roads" in case you'd like to join me)

Can you guess what I missed the most on our honeymoon?  If you said a full-sized bathroom or snow, you were so very close... but still not right.  It was even beyond a Katy-sized bathroom.  In other words, not a 6-foot-2-inches-tall Matt-friendly bathroom.

But, if you guessed cooking, you're spot on, friends.  I mean, the food on the cruise was faaaaaaahbulous, and I made sure to sample and enjoy every little morsel available to me.  Though for a foodie like me, it's not just the eating that gets my wheels turning.  It's the planning and creating (and even the cleaning) that rounds out the experience.

So, it should come as no surprise that the first thing I did when we got home we got to the airport was purchase the most recent issue of Food Network magazine.  Food!  Cooking at home!  ...where I have new pots and pans (I typed "pants" initially) to use!

These All-Clad dishes?  I'm a bit obsessed with them.  More like over the moon in love with them.  They cook so gosh darn evenly.  It's a dream!  They make those cheap pans from Target I'd been using since college look like, well, cheap pans from Target.  I don't mean to hate on you, Target.  I still have love for you, just not your cookware.

Anyway, with at least 1/4 of the magazine's pages dog-eared and a grocery list finished before the plane touched down in Pittsburgh, I plucked this as my first dinner to make upon returning home and getting back into a sliiiightly healthier routine: lemon salmon with lima beans! 

Public service announcement: If lima beans make your face contort and twist in ways that don't mean good things, feel free to substitute green beans.  It won't make a lick of a difference.

Oh my goodness.  The tools, the smells, the sheer joy of cooking!  How I missed it!

The salmon was crispy and flakey and deliciously lemony.  And the lima beans, with some punch from the spices and red pepper flakes and yogurt mixture, were -- get this -- possibly my favorite part of the meal.  Who knew?!  Healthy and satisfying without weighing you down.  The oregano yogurt sauce gave this simple dinner such a Greek flavor that I could've sworn we hopped from one vacation to the next.

Thankfully, we were enjoying dinner on our own dishes in our own dining room... in sweatpants and a sweatshirt.  That kind of attire definitely would not have been kosher on the cruise.  Home sweet home!

Two years ago: Green monster smoothie

Lemon Salmon with Lima Beans
(adapted from Food Network Magazine's recipe)
-serves 4

1 lemon, halved
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 (1 pound) bag frozen baby lima beans
Ground black pepper
4 5-ounce boneless salmon fillets

Slice 1 lemon half into 4 thin rounds and set aside. Grate the zest of the other lemon half and set aside; squeeze some of the juice into a bowl and mix in the yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon paprika.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the lima beans, 1 1/2 cups water and the lemon zest; partially cover the pan, bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt mixture and 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with remaining teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat  Mix the remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl.  Sprinkle all over the salmon.

Place salmon (skin side down if using salmon with skin on it) in pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until bottom is beginning to turn opaque pink at least 1/3 way through fish. Flip salmon to cook remaining side (and, if necessary, using tongs, carefully peel and discard skin), 4 to 5 more minutes.  Add lemon slices to pan with one minute remaining to warm and brown a bit.

Top each piece of salmon with a lemon slice and serve with the lima beans and top with the yogurt mixture.  Enjoy!

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