Labor Day Cookout with Dana Carpender – Includes her Low-Carb Salmon Recipe

Good grief! Is it really Labor Day already? I declare, time goes so fast I’m going to wake up tomorrow to discover I’m eighty five, smack myself on the forehead and say, “What happened?”

For the last glorious holiday weekend of the summer, a cookout seems mandatory. So call up some friends, throw some (light) beer in the cooler, fire up the barbecue, and let’s make an end-of-summer feast that will be filling and memorable without any nutritional regrets.

Grilled whole salmon is a great festive meal that feeds a crowd with very little work. You’ll find a great recipe for Wasabi Soy Salmon below.

Salmon is very nutritious stuff.

A four-ounce serving has 57% of your B12, 28% of your niacin, 15% of your thiamin, 10% of your potassium, 9% of your riboflavin, 5% of your iron, 4% of your zinc and vitamin A, and even 1% of your calcium and folacin. You’ll get 132 calories, no carbs, and 23 grams of protein.

You’ll also get omega-3 fatty acids. This is a very big deal. Not to get too complex, the essential polyunsaturated fats are omega-3s and omega-6s. These two fats should be balanced in the diet, but because vegetable oils high in omega-6s have flooded into our diet in the past 50 years or so, most people’s fat intake is badly unbalanced, with all kinds of health problems resulting, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and inflammatory conditions. Increasing our intake of omega-3 fats is a profound way to improve our health. (So is cutting out those omega-6-rich vegetable oils, like soy oil and safflower oil.)

Protein Salmon Steak Raw
Salmon Steak Raw

There is a big nutritional difference between wild salmon and farmed salmon.

While farmed salmon tends to be fattier than wild salmon, a lower percentage of that fat is made up of those healthy omega-3 oils, apparently because salmon are being fed soy, wheat, and other plant foods – completely unnatural foods for salmon, who are carnivores. Farmed salmon is also more likely to be contaminated with high levels of PCBs. If you can get a whole wild-caught salmon, it’s worth the extra expense.

It’s good to know that well-wrapped whole salmon freeze very well, so when they’re on sale, buy a couple extra, have the nice fish guys at the grocery store wrap them for the freezer, and stash ’em away for a special meal.

What to serve with your salmon?

I’d run with the Asian theme, and serve a slaw of Napa cabbage, with toasted sesame seeds and a ginger dressing: Whisk together 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoons grated ginger root, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, a pinch of cayenne, and 1/3 cup olive oil. (For this I would use just plain olive oil, not extra virgin olive oil. The pronounced flavor of extra virgin is just not very Asian.) Toss with shredded Napa cabbage, shredded carrot, and sliced scallions, then toss in toasted sesame seeds.

For a hot vegetable dish, how about grilled mushrooms, basted with soy sauce with a little garlic and Splenda or low carb imitation honey? Grilled asparagus would fit in well, too, or grilled eggplant. Or both!

Watermelon is the go-to dessert this time of year, but honeydew and cantaloupe are lower carb, and come across as a little more upscale, especially if you make cubes or balls and toss ’em with lime juice, ginger, and a touch of sweetener.

Happy Labor Day!

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Labor Day Cookout with Dana Carpender – Includes her Low-Carb Wasabi Soy Salmon Recipe

Protein Salmon Steak Raw

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For the last glorious holiday weekend of the summer, a cookout seems mandatory. So call up some friends, throw some (light) beer in the cooler, fire up the barbecue, and let’s make an end-of-summer feast that will be filling and memorable without any nutritional regrets.

Grilled whole salmon is a great festive meal that feeds a crowd with very little work. You’ll find a great recipe for Wasabi Soy Salmon below.

Ingredients

Scale

1 whole salmon, preferably wild-caught, 6 to 7 pounds, cleaned and head removed
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
1 1/2 tablespoons splenda (or sugar, if you insist.)
1/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons lime juice
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Get your grill going first – charcoal or gas as you prefer. You’ll want a medium-hot fire. If you’re using charcoal, once the coals are ash-covered, use fire tongs to arrange them in a strip the length and width of your fish.
  2. While the fire’s readying itself, make several slashes on either side of your salmon, down to the bone. This will help it cook through before you char the outside.
  3. Mix together everything else. Baste your salmon with this mixture, including inside the body cavity and into the slashes. Oil your grill well, and set your fish over the fire. Close the lid of your grill, and set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, baste the “up” side of your fish, and inside the body cavity again. Re-close the grill, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Now, using two metal spatulas, carefully roll your fish over, and re-situate it over the fire. Baste the new “up” side and the body cavity, and close the lid again. Set your timer for 10 minutes, and baste once more when it goes off. Close the lid one more time, and give Mr. Fishy a final 10 minutes. At this point your salmon should flake easily, and an instant-read thermometer stuck in the thickest part should read between 135 ° F and 140° F.
  5. Carefully lift your salmon off the grill with your two spatulas, place on a platter, and serve.

Nutrition

  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Protein: 49g
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(Recipe reprinted with permission from The Low-Carb Barbecue Book by Dana Carpender, 2004 Fair Winds Press.)

The Low-Carb Barbecue Book

The Low-Carb Barbecue Book

Over 200 Recipes for the Grill and Picnic Table

Dana Carpender comes to the rescue with over 200 low-carb recipes perfect for backyard picnics and barbecues, from meats and side dishes to cocktails and desserts. This book also features all-new recipes for condiments, sauces, and marinades that can replace the sugar-laden store-bought varieties and allow the low-carber to enjoy previously forbidden foods. Over 200 Recipes for the Grill and Picnic Table.

More Low Carb Recipes & Articles by Dana Carpender.

© 2010 by Dana Carpender. Used by permission of the laborious author. What do you think? Please send Dana your comments to Dana Carpender.

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