Heart of the Matter #5: Waterlife

We (more like my husband, who has been doing a lot of the cooking lately) made this dish for the Heart of the Matter: Waterlife event, hosted by Ilva of Lucullian Delights. For this event, we were challenged to come up with a dish that uses fish in a heart healthy matter.

According to WebMD, salmon is “a great source of protein and is also packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association advises eating salmon and other omega-3 rich foods twice a week for benefits that go beyond heart health.” We prepped it in a manner that is flavorful, yet low-fat.


We decided to go with an Epicurious recipe for Pan-Seared Salmon over Red Cabbage and Onions with Merlot Gastrique. The fish and the gastrique were fantastic, great texture and very flavorful. The red cabbage and onions were a bit on the bland side, but added a lot of bulk and made it a hearty, yet healthy meal. If red cabbage isn’t your thing, it would be tasty paired with a heart healthy low-fat salad.

Pan-Seared Salmon over Red Cabbage and Onions with Merlot Gastrique
from Gourmet Magazine, December 2002

2 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. finely chopped shallot (2 oz)
1/2 c. Merlot or other dry red wine
1 c. canned beef broth
1 tsp. cornstarch
4 (5 oz) skinned center-cut pieces of salmon fillet
1 tsp. olive oil

Make sauce:

Bring sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is a golden caramel, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add vinegar, then add shallot and swirl pan over low heat until caramel is dissolved, about 1 minute.

Stir in wine and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Add beef broth and boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 8 minutes. Whisk together cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water, then whisk into sauce and boil, whisking, 1 minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper and keep warm, covered.

Cook salmon:

Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté salmon, skinned side up, 3 minutes. Turn over and sauté until just cooked through, about 3 minutes more.
Serve salmon on top of red cabbage and onions with sauce spooned over. Each serving (recipe makes 4) contains about 334 calories and 11 grams fat.

Red Cabbage and Onions

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 lb red cabbage, cored, cut into 2-inch pieces, and layers separated
1/2 lb red onions, cut into 1-inch pieces and layers separated
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté cabbage, onions, thyme, salt, and pepper, stirring, 3 minutes. Cover skillet and reduce heat to moderate, then cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, about 12 minutes more. Each serving contains about 68 calories and 1 gram fat.

3 thoughts on “Heart of the Matter #5: Waterlife

  1. Katiez

    The salmon and sauce sound wonderful. If the cabbage was too bland I would add some Balsamic too it, and maybe a bit of the wine and beef stock….oh, now I am getting hungry…. And I just had breakfast….
    Love salmon!

  2. Trig

    I love the colour of red cabbage, and with this dish you’ve managed to maintain the vibrant purpleness perfectly. Very nice!

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