Oui, oui, you need this at your dinner table.
French cuisine may be known for cheese, wine, and all things covered in butter, but healthy food is not tough to find (if you know how to look for it). The southern region of France belongs to the Mediterranean region, and its food shares qualities with the renowned Mediterranean diet, including seafood, fresh vegetables, olive oil, and a bold use of flavorful herbs and spices. (For proof, check out this healthy tomato-onion galette recipe.)
For a heart-healthy dinner option, cardiologist and chef Mike Fenster, MD, demonstrates how to do French cooking at its finest—and its healthiest—with a dijon-marinated salmon fillet over a warm heirloom tomato salad.
These Mediterranean ingredients are seasoned with a flavor profile unique to the southern regions of France: herbs de provence, fresh lavender, and (of course) white wine. Herbs de provence is a spice blend used throughout southern France, and it typically includes thyme, tarragon, rosemary, and savory (an herb with a minty-peppery flavor), but the recipe varies. This unique blend of herbs, along with the lavender and dijon mustard, will make this dish stand out from other salmon recipes.
To round out the meal with veggies, Dr. Mike recommends a warm heirloom tomato and wilted green salad, which is tossed in the same marinade as the salmon. This is a great trick to add cohesion between components of a meal when assembling an entree.
Serve the salmon on top of the heirloom tomato salad. This adds visual interest because the elements are stacked vertically (see more plating tips here). The complementary flavors of the salmon and the salad will also fuse together and make it easier to get a little of both in each bite, so you can really enjoy the fresh flavors of southern France!
- 1/2 pound salmon fillets (2 4-oz portions)
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 2 dashes of salt
- 1 or 2 medium-sized whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon capters
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 5-oz salad mix
- 1 dash of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons herbes de provence
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 oz white wine or rose
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 a lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon lavender
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon summer savory
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons tarragon
Instructions1. Make sure the salmon scales are completely removed, for a crispy, crunchy skin. Lightly salt the salmon, and place skin side down, in a container. 2. Prepare marinade by whisking herbes de provence (basil, oregano, thyme, savory, rosemary, and tarragon), olive oil, wine, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest, lavender, and Dijon mustard. Reserve half to drizzle over the finished salmon when serving. To the remaining marinade, add the garlic and pour the mixture over the salmon. Cover and let rest at least one hour and up to eight hours. 3. To prepare the salmon, heat some oil over medium high heat. Remove the salmon from the marinade and pat the skin side dry. Place skin side up, sprinkle with salt and let rest 5 minutes. 4. When the oil is hot add the salmon, skin side up. Sear the top of the salmon until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fish and allow to finish cooking. Exact cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the filet. 5. Prepare the salad: With the stem side down, slice each tomato in half. Lay the cut side down, then make ½- inch slices working from the tip towards the stem end. Working with 2 slices at a time, cut these into ½-inch strips. 6. Heat a little olive oil in a pan. When the oil is shimmering add the garlic and cook quickly until lightly browned; 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and capers and cook until the tomatoes are softened, another 1-2 minutes. 7. Remove from heat and toss in a bowl with mixed green, pine nuts, a little extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil and pepper. 8. To serve, divide the heirloom salad into 4 servings. Place the salmon on top of the salad and drizzle with the remaining marinade. Garnish with micro-greens. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Dr. Fenster is a board-certified interventional cardiologist and chef.
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Today we're making one o the most
magnificent salmon dishes you've
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We're gonna start with
a unique flavor profile
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that's Indigenous to the southern
France region Herbes de Provence.
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Now there are about as many
varieties of Herbes de Provence,
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as there are grandmothers
making it in the kitchen.
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I'm gonna do a fresh version here,
you can certainly use dried herbs or
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a combination or fresh and dried herbs.
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Or you can even buy,
usually again it's dried, but
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remember once you open it up that
the volatile oils start to dissipate.
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And so it definitely has a shelf life.
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Now we're going to go ahead and
make our marinade.
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So, what we're going to start with
is just a little bit of white wine,
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give it a little bit of
the flavor of France.
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Cuz you can't really cook a French dish
without using a little bit of wine.
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So we're going to go put that in there.
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And we're going to brighten it
up using the zest of the lemon.
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Now, make sure that when you do
this you don't get any of the white
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part because that's the pith, and if
somebody gets that, it's very bitter and
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you'll make them very pithed off
when they're trying to eat that.
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We're also gonna use the juice
of the lemon as well,
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and that's gonna give it some acidity.
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And, as we're adding that, make sure that
you don't allow the fish to sit too long
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because it will actually cook the fish in
the citric acid that we find in lemons and
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other citrus vegetables.
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And then you're making ceviche
not pan seared salmon.
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So we're gonna go ahead and
use a little bit of honey as well.
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And this is gonna help sweeten it but
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it's also gonna add a nice crust to
the fish as it cooks in the pan.
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We wanna go ahead and
add a little bit of Dijon mustard.
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Dijon's a little bit more north in
France than the coast of France,
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but it's a very French thing,
a wonderful flavor.
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And what's very important is it's gonna
act as an emulsifier because we're gonna
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add some olive oil as well.
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And olive oil, wine, water,
they don't really mix, but
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when we combine it with the mustard in
there it's gonna act as an emulsifier and
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help hold this whole thing together.
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We wanna add a little bit
more of our lavender as well.
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A little bit more flower power, and add a
little bit more of that floral essence and
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let that marinate in
there with the salmon.
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And finally, of course,
we're gonna add the Herbes de Provence.
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So we're gonna put that all together.
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And I've got this salmon here and what
I wanna do, before we put the marinade
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mixture on, is I wanna go ahead and
I just wanna salt this a little bit.
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And I wanna take this marinade that I've
got here, and I just want to go ahead and
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reserve about half of it, and we're
gonna use that as a dressing at the end.
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We're gonna take the other half that
we're gonna use as our marinade, and
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to that we're gonna add just
a little bit of chopped garlic.
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Again, classic flavors of
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So I'm gonna put that all in there,
just mix it up a little bit, and
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then we just kinda go ahead and
pour that right over the fish right here.
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And we're just gonna do that.
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And we're just gonna let this sit for
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at least an hour,
preferably several hours.
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And now we're ready to
put our dish together.
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So we have this beautiful,
wild sockeye salmon fillet that's been
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marinating with lavender, Dijon,
all sorts of herbs and spices.
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We want to get a nice sear on it, so
we're just gonna lay that skin side up so
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we get a nice brown on that and while
that's cooking were going to go ahead and
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do our heirloom tomato salad.
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So I've got some scapes here which are
absolutely intense in the garlic flavor.
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If you can't find those feel
free to use some chopped garlic,
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we're just going to cook them very very
quickly, they are turning a vibrant green.
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That tells me they're ready for a little
bit of pine nut, a little bit of caper,
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and of course, our heirloom tomatoes.
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And we're just gonna heat that up in
the pan, we're gonna season everything,
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and we're gonna let those flavors just
cook, let that just get really warm, and
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then we will add it to our greens.
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And that will allow us to just wilt
the salad instead of really cook it.
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And I really like heirloom tomatoes
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because as you can see
they're funny shapes.
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They're odd like me.
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And the reason that they're odd is that
they were grown for flavor, for taste,
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for texture, not mechanical harvesting.
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So we've got our tomatoes over here,
they're all done.
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We are just going go ahead and
bring our greens over here and
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then by pouring the hot oil and
the tomatoes on top here, what we've
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done is that we're just going to go ahead
and wilt our greens very, very lightly.
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Nice and warm salad, so good.
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So delicious for a summer day, but
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if you're cooking in winter it's
gonna warm you up as well too.
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Then we're just gonna turn our salmon, and
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then we're going to cook
it from the bottom up.
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Look at the beautiful,
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golden finish on that salmon,
that's what we're looking for.
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And you wanna cook it,
you can actually follow it.
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Let that skin crisp up, and
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you'll see the top of the salmon
just start to flake away.
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That's when we know it's done, it's
tender, it's juicy, it's not overcooked.
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And that means it's gonna be super
scrumptious, and super good for us.
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How absolutely gorgeous this looks and
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we can just dress it up with
a little fresh micro greens.
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If you like you can use the reserved
marinade that we made and
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use that as a little sauce,
either on the side, on top of the salmon.
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It actually makes a delicious,
absolutely scrumptious dressing for
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the salad underneath as well.
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That's how all these
flavors come together.
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This is French cooking at its finest and
at its healthiest.
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