JEFF TIEDEMAN: Surf and turfSeafood-veggie combo fits nicely in most nutrition plans.
What’s your favorite food pairing?
I’d bet a hundred people would give nearly 100 different answers if asked that question. And if they’re anything like me, their responses could easily vary from day to day.
But there is one combination that ranks right up near the top for me, and I’m not talking about hamburgers and fries. It is seafood and fresh vegetables — my rendition of “surf and turf.” And that’s in line with the dietary recommendations of at least three heart-healthy eating plans.
• The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month and eating fish and poultry at least twice a week.
• The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet offers menus that feature vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, as well as whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
• The New Food Pyramid suggests making at least half your grains whole grains, varying your veggies, focusing on fruit, getting your calcium-rich foods and going lean with protein, choosing seafood at least twice a week as the main protein food.
One of my favorite ways to combine seafood and veggies is in a stir-fry served over rice. Scallops and shrimp — they cook in a flash and are subtle, sweet and satisfying — are excellent choices on the seafood side, and I like vegetables such as summer squash, onions, peppers and eggplant to complement them.
Another good option for this combo is in salads — with greens or pasta — topped with a zesty oil-and-vinegar dressing. Some vegetables that lend themselves to this type of salad are cucumbers, corn, chickpeas, fennel and cherry tomatoes. And just about any kind of seafood, including salmon, tuna, shrimp and scallops, fits the bill.
Here are a few other ways seafood can be paired with fresh produce:
• Dress up tilapia fillets with any bold-flavored dressing like basil pesto, tomatoes, peanuts, almonds or lemon and garlic.
• Salmon can be grilled with baby carrots, broccoli and beans.
• Sole can be served with steamed cabbage and citrus fruits like orange, lemon and herbs like basil and celery.
• Cod fish can be served with baked potatoes, green peas and fresh spinach sauce.
• Mackerel can be served with cherry tomatoes, asparagus and spring onions.
Being an avid gardener and having a supermarket with a good selection of fish and the like, there’s no question that seafood and vegetables always will be close to my heart.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.