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Weekend Recipes: In Praise of Fish

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Recent studies from both Dutch and Norwegian researchers are confirming that consumption of omega 3 fatty acids, which are most often found in fish and nuts, may make you smarter (or at least help you utilize what you've got):

People who reported eating on average at least a third of an ounce of fish per day -- 10 grams -- outscored those who skimped on fish, regardless of factors including age, education, and heart health . Most participants ate fish, and the more fish they ate, the better their test scores were -- up to a point.

Test scores leveled off for people who ate more than about 2.5 to 2.8 daily ounces of fish.

I love fish in all of its preparations: raw, baked, breaded and fried, grilled, smoked, pickled, or smushed up into a pate. And surprisingly enough, fish doesn't have to be expensive: my local How's supermarket offers nicely sized salmon and trout steaks for only a few bucks each. Pair a sauteed filet or baked salmon steak with some stir-fried greens like kale or spinach, and you have got yourself an easy, delicious, and ridiculously nutritious meal for less than $5. Fish is best when bought the day of consumption -- maybe it can last a day in your fridge, but cook it as soon as you can. The easiest way to prepare a couple of filets is to pop them in a plastic bag and soak them in a marinade for a few hours: even something as simple as olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic will get the flavor train chugging, but fresh herbs like cilantro, dill, and basil are also great additions. Or how about some ceviche, like this one from Alton Brown? Even fish baked in salt isn't too hard, as long as you've got, you know, several pounds of rock salt laying about the house. Oh, and hello,
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fish tacos?

If fresh fish isn't a practical choice, smoked and canned fish are also great options -- how many ways can you dress up tuna salad? How about smoked salmon? Don't limit yourself to bagels -- smoked salmon is fun for canapes and relishes like this one that you can put on top of soup or salads.

So dump that overpriced, boring, tasteless chicken breast, and try some fish recipes this weekend. It'll taste great, be good for your waistline, and hell, it might even help your Scrabble game. My super duper easy trout recipe is below the jump.

Photo by splorp via Flickr

Baked Trout with Stir-Fried Greens and Cucumber Dill Sauce

2 trout filets (you can leave the skin on if you like)
2 tablespoons citrus juice, plus another 1 tablespoon, plus another squeeze
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup low-fat yogurt
Freshly chopped dill
Salt & pepper

Marinate two trout filets in a plastic bag with olive oil, two tablespoons of citrus juice, garlic, salt and pepper, and minced dill for at least one hour.

Make cucumber sauce: mix diced cukes, yogurt, minced dill, a splash of citrus juice, and salt and pepper. You can add a pinch of cayenne if you want a little spice. Refrigerate until ready.

Bake fish in a 350 oven for ten to fifteen minutes. Poke the fish with your finger to tell if it's done (firmer=raw, softer=cooked).

While the fish is cooking, prepare your greens: I love kale or chard, but spinach is also yummy. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or wok, heat to medium high. Add garlic, saute for a minute or so until golden. Throw in greens, saute for about five minutes or until limp. Toss in the citrus juice, let reduce a bit, then season with salt and pepper.

Pile everything on top of each other, then eat and bask in the brain-rich rewards.