AIP Salmon Cakes With Avocado Aioli

Because I am cooking for myself a lot of the time now, I tend to make a lot of single person meals.

The only exceptions to this are when I am also cooking for my 2 housemates, or I am making something that will keep in the fridge for a few days and is easily reheated.

This recipe is one of my “single person” meals, although it would easily be doubled or tripled if you needed to feed more people.

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Salmon is a fish that is very good for us because it is an oily fish that is high in the anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids.

I usually have some wild-caught salmon fillets in the freezer that I can pull out and thaw when I need to make a quick meal just for me.

I used white (Japanese) sweet potatoes here, which are slightly less sweet than the familiar orange ones.  This recipe would work just as well with the regular sweet potatoes however…

There will be more avocado Aioli than you need for one person – just cover the remainder tightly with clingwrap, ensuring that the clingwrap is in contact with the surface of the sauce.  It will keep for another day in the fridge and can be used as a dip with veggies for your lunch.

AIP Salmon Cakes with Avocado Aioli

serves 1

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For the Salmon Cakes

  • 1 fillet fresh or frozen salmon 4-6oz (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 green onion – chopped
  • 1 tsp capers – rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • pink Himalayan salt to taste
  • arrowroot flour to dust
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil – divided

For the Avocado Aioli

Prick the sweet potato all over and then cook it in the microwave for 5 minutes until it is fork tender. Depending on the power of your microwave, it may take more or less time than this.

If you do not want to use a microwave, you can also bake the sweet potato in the oven – wrap it in foil after pricking it, and bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350°F (175°C) oven until it is fork tender.

While the sweet potato is cooking, melt 1 tbsp of the coconut oil in a small skillet.  Add the fish and cook for 3 minutes per side until it is opaque and flaking.  do not over cook the fish!

Once the sweet potato is cooked, use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin into a small mixing bowl and mash it well.

Flake the fish into the bowl, discarding any skin.  Add the green onion, capers and parsley, and season to taste with the salt.  Mix well.

Dust your hands with some arrowroot flour and shape the mixture into 2 patties, 1″ thick.  Dust the outside of the patties with more arrowroot flour.

Melt the remaining tbsp of coconut oil in the same skillet that you used to cook the fish.  Add the salmon cakes and cook for 5 minutes per side until heated through and golden brown.

While the salmon cakes are cooking make the avocado aioli.

Place all the aioli ingredients in a food processor and puree till smooth.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and necessary.

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Serve the salmon cakes on top of a bed of sauteed spinach with some of the avocado aioli on top.

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Store any remaining aioli tightly covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Shared at:  Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable

Mackerel with a Green Herb Sauce

Mackerel are one of my favourite fish, and they are very economical to buy as well, which helps a lot with our ever-increasing grocery bills.

I can buy 6 whole fish (frozen from an Asian grocery store) for less than $10 which is a very good price for a wild-caught fish.

I am not worried about buying frozen fish as it does not change the nutritional profile, and most of the time they are frozen within minutes of being caught.  In fact, it might even be healthier to buy fish that has been frozen on the boat as opposed to fish that may have taken several days to be shipped to where you live.  Freezing may affect the texture, especially if they have been frozen for long periods or stored improperly.  But it is very difficult to buy fresh wild-caught fish in Alberta – most of the so called “fresh” fish in the stores has been previously frozen and then thawed for sale.

Mackerel are an oily fish, rich in those all-important omega 3 fatty acids, so I try to include them in our diet at least once a week.  They are also a good source of protein, phosphorus, Vitamin D, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

I usually prepare them using this method, but this time round I decided to fillet them using this method.  I didn’t get any photographs as hubby was not at home to take them for me, and my hands were covered in fish which I did not want to get all over the camera.

Next time I will though!

If thawing frozen fish, make sure you do so in the refrigerator or under cold running water.  NEVER thaw them on the countertop as that can lead to the growth of bacteria resulting in food poisoning.

If you can obtain fresh, unfrozen mackerel, you can still use them to make this recipe.

The green herb sauce has an Italian feel to it and really complements the oily fish.

This recipe is not only Paleo, it is also AIP friendly, and is incredibly quick to cook, taking only 10 minutes in the oven.

Mackerel with a Green Herb Sauce

serves 6

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  • 6 mackerel – thawed if frozen and divided into 2 fillets using this method
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

For the green herb sauce:

  • ¼ cup capers – rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 3 green onions – roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • ¼cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼tbsp apple cider vinegar (try to use one with a mother – this is the brand I like)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.

Fillet your mackerel into 2 neat fillets using the method above, and lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and then scatter with sea salt..

Bake in the preheated oven for around 10 minutes until the fish is firm and flakes easily.  Do not allow to overcook!

To make the green herb sauce you just put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until the herbs are chopped and it is all evenly mixed.

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Serve the sauce drizzled over your mackerel.

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I served this with oven roasted rutabaga fries and oven roasted broccoli.

Gravlax (Cured Salmon)

I love salmon, and one of my favourite ways to prepare it is as gravlax.

Gravlax is a Nordic (Norwegian and Swedish) cured salmon dish, where the fish is cured in a mixture of salt and sugar, usually with dill, and is then consumed raw.  If you love smoked salmon, you will most likely love this fish preparation as well.

The name gravlax means “buried salmon”.  In medieval times, and possibly even earlier, the raw fish (not just salmon, but also herrings and other oily fish) was buried in holes in the ground and left to ferment as a means of preserving the fish for consumption during the winter when food was scarce.

Modern gravlax is not buried in the ground, and is not fermented.  Instead it is cured in salt (and usually sugar), in the fridge for a few days.

It is very simple to make and tastes delicious.  Don’t be put off by the fact that is is served raw, it has a texture very similar to smoked salmon.  It is also safe to eat the fish raw as long as it has been frozen for a minimum of 7 days as this kills any parasites that may be in the flesh.  You could also buy sushi-grade salmon to be extra safe.

This recipe is AIP friendly, and because the fish has not been cooked, it is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so very good for you.

Use it just as you would smoked salmon.  It is excellent as an appetizer, as a light main-course and the leftovers are great for breakfast.  I often add leftover gravlax to scrambled eggs.

My recipe for gravlax is loosely based on a recipe in Cured by Lindy Wildsmith.  I cut out the sugar for this cure to make it Paleo/AIP and added a small amount of honey for a little sweetness.

To make this strict AIP, you would need to omit the black pepper which is a stage 1 reintroductoin.  If you have managed to reintroduce it and know you are not sensitive to it, it does add a touch of spice however.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Gravlax

serves 12

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  • 2 x 2¼lb (1kg) pieces of wild-caught salmon fillet (skin on) – previously frozen for a minimum of 7 days then defrosted
  • 4 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 4 tsp ground black pepper (omit if sensitive or strict AIP)
  • 2 tbsp honey – preferably raw and local
  • 1 bunch of dill finely chopped

Thaw the salmon in the refrigerator, then check carefully for any pinbones, removing them with a pair of tweezers.

Mix the salt, pepper, honey and dill together.  You may need to warm your honey to make it liquid if it is the creamed, solid kind.

Place one piece of salmon skin-side down in a shallow dish and spread the salt mixture evenly over the flesh.

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Top with the second piece of salmon, flesh side down.  Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, turn the fish over so that the top piece is now on the bottom, recover and replace in the refrigerator for another 24 hours.

After this time, wipe off the salt mixture,

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sprinkle the top of the fish with a little extra chopped dill, slice thinly on the diagonal, leaving the skin behind, and serve.

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I served this with a green salad, roasted beets and carrots and some lactofermented cucumber relish.

If you want to serve fewer people than 12, you could halve the recipe, just using one piece of fish that you cut in half lengthwise to give 2 similarly shaped pieces of fish.  I usually make the recipe just as it is though as we love this fish so much that we will happily eat all of it.  Any leftover sliced fish will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #24

Shared at Real Food Fridays #36

Shared at Fight Back Friday May 2nd

Broiled Mackerel with Gremolata

I like to cook fish very simply – usually just grilled (broiled for those in the US) or pan-fried.  And I usually like to serve a simple sauce or garnish with it as well.

This time, I broiled my mackerel, which I had prepared using this method.  And I served it with gremolata this time.

Gremolata is a chopped herb garnish that is traditionally served with ossobuco, but it goes very well with fish as well.

This is a very quick meal (if your fish are already prepared/filleted, it can be fridge to table in less than 15 minutes depending on what you are planning on serving with it).  Perfect for a late night or after-work meal!

Grilled Mackerel with Gremolata

serves 6

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  • 6 small mackerel
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil – melted
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • sea salt to taste

First of all, you are going to prepare your mackerel.  I used this method as my mackerel were quite small and I was planning on serving one per person.  If you had larger fish you could simply fillet them.  This is a good method to use.

Lay your mackerel out skin side down on a baking sheet, brush with the melted coconut oil and sprinkle it with fresh thyme leaves.  Season with salt.  Cook under a hot broiler for 5-10 minutes until the fish is cooked and just starting to flake.

Serve at once with gremolata.

For the gremolata:

  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

All you need to do is to take all the ingredients and put them in a food processor.  Pulse until they are evenly mixed, and the parsley and garlic is finely chopped.

Spoon over your mackerel fillet.

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In addition to the gremolata, I served a simple salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and some oven roasted veggies (brussels sprouts, beets, sweet potato and red onion) with the fish.

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Shared at the Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable#14

More Research

A quick post about some recent nutritional research that I have found recently…

First up, seafood is still considered a good source of nutrients although consumers are confused about it’s safety.  The current recommendations are to eat two 3-5oz servings a week of seafoods such as salmon, oysters and rainbow trout but to limit consumption of the large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish and king mackerel.  They don’t mention it, but I would also say to limit  consumption of farmed fish and stick to wild caught varieties as they will have a better omega-3/omega-6 ratio.

The omega-3/omega-6 issue in farmed fish is mentioned in another study.  Despite the health benefits, most children and adults have a “nutrition gap” in omega-3 fatty acids.  In part, the authors attribute this to under consumption of fish and other omega-3 containing foods.  But they also do attribute it in part to 50% or more of seafood consumed being raised in farms on diets that don’t foster a healthy omega-3/omega-6 ratio.  In other words eat more wild caught seafood.

Eating eggs is not linked to high cholesterol in adolescents.  They have found that it is not unsafe to eat more than 2 eggs a week and it does not increase the risk of heart disease….  something that us Paleo folks have been saying for ages.  They also suggest that blood cholesterol levels are more affected by saturated fat and trans fat levels.  So avoid those over processed industrially prepared foods…

High intakes of milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter were not associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality compared with low intakes.  They do say in this one that high intakes of meat, especially processed meat was associated with increased mortality – I suspect that this is due to the processed meats affecting the results.

And finally habits, not cravings, drive food choices during times of stress.  In other words, when you are stressed and reach for that chocolate bar or the carb laden comfort foods, it is not because of cravings.  It is caused by habits.  And habits CAN be broken.  It usually takes around 21 days to break a habit, the same as it does to create one.