I heard that it might actually snow over the weekend. Even though it is much much too early for snow, I suppose this means we are officially headed into the dark months. I am always lured in by the cheerful promise of the upcoming holidays. Then, after the anti-climax of New Years, I’ll find myself standing on some bleak, windy hill pretending that sledding is fun and wondering if I’ll ever be happy again. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you can bet I’ll be wondering how long I’ll have to keep up the charade before we can go get a cup of coffee.
But let’s not think about that.
Let’s think about all the great cooking that can be done during the colder part of the year. This is the time for stews and slow-cookers, root vegetables and warm spices… It’s also a good time to ramp up your vitamin D intake so that you don’t get rickets or catch the flu. I never used to give vitamin D much thought but it is in the news everywhere now since apparently most of us are horribly deficient. The current recommendation is 400 IU/day for adults but many consider that number to be too low. In any case, its not a bad idea to increase that number to at least 800-1000 IU/day especially if you are a woman (as vitamin D increases calcium absorption or live in a northern latitude. By the way, only kids get rickets but vitamin D deficiency in adults is associated with an alarming number of other health problems. Here’s an interesting article from the Weston A Price Foundation on the matter (by the way, those folks recommend 10,000 IU/day!.
Salmon is an excellent natural source of vitamin D although the content varies considerably depending on whether the salmon is wild caught or farmed. Wild caught salmon can contain as much as 1000 IU per 3.5oz portion whereas farmed salmon generally contains far less. Unless you plan to eat salmon or shrimp everyday (or you’re lucky enough to live in the sun all year the best way to get your vitamin D is to take cod liver oil daily. I plan to do this as soon as I get around to it.
I like to broil fish because it is fast and easy. If you’ve had the foresight to defrost the fish or actually bought it fresh that day you can make a really good dinner in 20 minutes. Sometimes I like to get creative with sauces and glazes but it’s hard to beat this compound butter in terms of simple, rich deliciousness.
4 tablespoons ( stick good quality butter, softened
juice and zest from lemon
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 clove garlic, pressed or crushed
4 4oz salmon fillets
Combine the softened butter, lemon juice, zest, tarragon, and garlic in a bowl. Transfer mixture to the center of a piece of plastic wrap. Fold over one side of the wrap and gently roll to form a neat cylinder. Put in freezer to firm until the salmon is ready.
Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a roasting or cooling rack (see photo. Place the salmon fillets on the rack, brush with olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper. Broil on the top oven rack until the top is spotted brown and the edges flake easily with a fork (about 10 minutes.
Top each fillet with a pat of butter.