Go Low Carb / Poblano and Basil Grilled Salmon with Zucchini, Summer Squash and Mint Tomato

When you are planning a dinner party, dietary restrictions trump all. From allergies to the way your guests are choosing to eat, knowing who is gathering in your home for a meal is the most important component when planning a menu.

There are so many diets out there designed to help people lose weight, which has become a recurring consideration I’ve had to make when designing my food spreads. The common thread I’ve found in the diets that I’ve explored over the years is the low carb theme. Cut the carbs, drop the pounds. It is perhaps one of the hardest diet changes one can make, and a challenge when creating a dinner menu, but in my experience, it has been one of the most effective when focusing on health.

As a cook, the most difficult part for me is figuring out ways in which I can make a low carb meal feel both decadent and fulfilling. When I’m given only a protein and some vegetables to eat, I’m often times left feeling like something is missing from my plate. I begin imagining a heaping helping of rice or a mound of mashed potatoes, and then I get angry when my thoughts fail to conjure a carb of any kind. Before I know it, I’m sitting in the corner of my kitchen, crying and gnawing on a baguette like it’s going out of style. Okay… a bit of an exaggeration. But you never know how your guests might react!

Good meals leave me feeling utterly complete. That very sensation is what inspired this Poblano and Basil Grilled Salmon with Zucchini, Summer Squash and Mint Tomato recipe. This extremely low-carb meal offers substantial cuts of fish and vegetables along with a light yet decadent chutney-esque sauce made from the grilled tomatoes and mint. Without being over-seasoned, the natural flavors of every component shine, which will leave you and your guests full, content and wanting nothing more than another helping of this dish.

If low carb is the name of the game during your next dinner party, this recipe is one that can easily be multiplied. The dish can be prepared up to an hour ahead of time and kept warm in a 225-degree oven until you are ready to serve.

Poblano and Basil Grilled Salmon with Zucchini, Summer Squash and Mint Tomato

(recipe serving size – 2-4 people)

For marinating the salmon:

1 1/4 lb wild caught salmon, cut into 2-4 filets

1 small poblano pepper, diced

14 large basil leaves

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tb olive oil

Process poblano, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil into a paste. Rub the paste all over the salmon until the fish is completely coated. Seal fish in a plastic storage bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

For the zucchini and squash:

2 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch lengthwise

2 summer squash, sliced 1/4 inch lengthwise

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

2 tb canola oil

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.

Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan with enough canola oil to coat. Grill zucchini and squash for 1-2 minutes on each side until slightly brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper when done. Set in an oven safe pan, cover and place in oven to keep warm.

For the tomatoes:

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tb olive oil

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

8 mint leaves, chopped

Coat cherry tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook in the grill pan for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally until the tomatoes begin to blister. Place the tomatoes in an oven safe bowl. Gently fold in the mint and place in the oven to keep warm.

For grilling the fish:

1 1/4 lb marinated salmon

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tb butter

Brush the grill pan with more canola oil if necessary.

Gently scrape the paste off of the fish. Sprinkle with salt. Grill, flesh-side down, for 4-5 minutes until a crust has formed. For thicker pieces, tent with aluminum foil while cooking to help the fish cook through. Turn the fish over onto the skin side and grill for another 2-3 minutes. While the fish cooks, place 1 tb of butter on each piece and tent with the same aluminum foil of necessary.

Bringing it all together:

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Line a plate with the grilled pieces of zucchini and squash, slightly overlapping and alternating them as you lay them down. Place the piece of salmon on top of the grilled zucchini and squash and top with the tomato and mint. For additional heat, sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes over meal.

Garnish with basil and mint and serve while warm.

3 thoughts

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