February is all about the heart. The heart symbol or “heart shape” (♥) is used to express the idea of the “heart”, be that as an emotion, such as affection and love, especially romantic love, but also health. This month we celebrate Valentines and the American Heart Association’s campaign Go Red for Women, which brings awareness of heart disease in women. Therefore, this month I thought I would include a meal that can be used as both a “heart healthy” and romantic dinner. Salmon is a good source of omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids which can help lower triglycerides and blood pressure, and it’s always best to get it from food. Avocado is a nutrient dense food; in fact one-fifth of a medium avocado (1 oz.) has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, plus “heart healthy” monounsaturated fat. I hope you enjoy.
1 ¾ cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup corn kernels (I use frozen, but in the summer months I cut fresh from the corn cob)
4 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, chopped (optional)
Oil for pan
2 pounds fresh salmon fillet
3 tablespoons oil (I like to use avocado, grape seed, or canola oil)
½ cup avocado, mashed*
Lettuce of choice: watercress, shredded romaine, arugula, micro-greens, etc.
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/3 cup onion, diced (I like to use Mexican white onions, or try red onion, or green onion)
¼ cup jalapeno pepper, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
½ lime, juiced
Pancakes: In a bowl whish the eggs, add the milk, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and black pepper, whisk well. Fold in the corn, chives and chipotle, if using. Heat a large flat skillet or griddle, brush with oil. Using a 3-tablespoon ladle (I use an ice cream scoop), pour the batter on the hot griddle, forming 3-inch pancakes. Cook until bubbles appear on the top and the edges look dry, flip over and cook approximately 1 minute more. Transfer to a parchment paper lined sheet pan, and keep warm in a warm oven.
Salmon: brush the salmon with some oil, season with spices of choice, or simply use salt and pepper. Grill, broil, bake, or poach until the fish is just cooked inside, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Salsa: mix all ingredients in a bowl, set aside.
Assembly: place a corn pancake on each of 6 serving plates. Frost each with some avocado, top with 3 tablespoons flaked salmon and top the salmon with lettuce of choice. Repeat twice. Sprinkle some salsa on top and around each stack, serve.
Make ahead: You can make the pancake batter the day ahead and keep in the fridge until ready to use. Or, you can make the pancakes, freeze them in a single layer on a sheet pan, when frozen transfer to freezer bags. When ready to use, simply place on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and bake at 350° F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until heated through.
Variations: Use crème fraiche in place of the avocados. Instead of salsa, make a salad with baby pear tomatoes, edamame, green onions, and mix with a little vinaigrette dressing.
* Sometimes it is difficult to time ripe avocados, so my backup plan is to buy packaged avocados, which you can find in the refrigerated section at the grocery usually next to the fresh salsa. You can get plain avocados or seasoned with jalapenos.