Eating for Life

September 11, 2012

Eating For Life | Salmon without the salt and calories

For The Star’s Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad With Dill Vinaigrette, we cut the carbs by ditching the bagel for a bed of salad greens. Then we swapped the high-fat cream cheese for a simple vinaigrette. Finally, we used the smoked salmon sparingly, almost as a garnish.
Editor’s Note: This column was first published on September 22, 2010.

When I was growing up in Colorado, my New York Italian mother used to buy lox at a Jewish delicatessen around the corner from the Catholic church.

When we got home, I’d layer the silky pink-orange fish slices onto soft, warm bagels schmeared with whipped cream cheese.

Ah, pure heaven.

I’m still a lox lover, but a recent Women’s Health Magazine article got me rethinking the dietary cost of a plain bagel and regular cream cheese with smoked salmon, plus red onions and tomatoes. Figure about 585 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat.

Sure, bagels have received plenty of bashing for their ballooning size and overall carb content, but isn’t salmon a protein-packed power food?

Indeed, fresh salmon is high in omega-3, a healthy fat. However, when salmon is cold-smoked to make lox, it is soaked in a brine that supplies 1,700 milligrams of sodium — almost a day’s worth of sodium. Compare that with a 3-ounce portion of ordinary smoked salmon that has a more modest 784 milligrams of sodium.

Banish smoked salmon from my diet? Nah. I subscribe to the all-things-in-moderation school of eating.

For The Star’s

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad With Dill Vinaigrette

, we cut the carbs by ditching the bagel for a bed of salad greens. Then we swapped the high-fat cream cheese for a simple vinaigrette. Finally, we used the smoked salmon sparingly, almost as a garnish.

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Shopping tip:

These days, thin slices of smoked salmon are available at large supermarkets. Look for them in the deli or seafood department. For slightly less salt content, pick a product labeled smoked salmon rather than lox.

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Cooking tip:

To seed cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise. Use the tip of a spoon to gently scrape out the seeds until you’re left with two vegetable canoes.

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad With Dill Vinaigrette

Makes 2 (2 1/2 cup) servings 2 shallots, minced 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon honey Freshly ground pepper 1 medium cucumber, unpeeled, halved, seeded and sliced 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper 1/4 cup chopped red onion 2 1/2 cups torn lettuce leaves 2 ounces smoked salmon, cut into thin strips (about 1/3 cup)

Place minced shallots in large mixing bowl. Add vinegar, dill, olive oil, mustard and honey; whisk to combine. Season generously with pepper and whisk to blend.

Add cucumber, red pepper and red onion to dressing mixture and toss.

Divide half of the lettuce to place on individual salad plates. Spoon half of cucumber mixture over lettuce on each plate. Top each with salmon.

Per serving: 181 calories (44 percent from fat), 9 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 7 milligrams cholesterol, 16 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 277 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.

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