So, this recipe marks the first in a little series I’m calling bullsh*t-free nutrition. First up: the Mediterranean diet!

Why BS-free? Because we’ve already stripped gluten, dairy, soy, fat, carbs, nightshades, grains, FODMAPs, and everything else from our diet. And all it’s left us with is a plateful of confusion. What are we supposed to eat? What is actually good for us?

My mission with this series is to cut the crap and deliver easy-to-understand, scientifically sound dietary advice.

What we know:

– The Mediterranean diet is one of the most well-studied dietary interventions to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It likely reduces blood pressure, and favourably alters blood lipids—think more ‘good cholesterol’ and less of the bad stuff.
– Exciting research completed here in Australia suggests that the Mediterranean diet may (I stress the word may) be an effective therapy for major depression. Keep in mind it’s still early days here, but the results are very promising!

In addition to all that, by its very nature, the Mediterranean diet provides plenty of fibre (for good gut health) and omega-3 polyunsaturated fat (for a healthy brain and heart). But what is the Mediterranean diet exactly? Well, the exact description varies between sources, but common elements include a higher intake of unsaturated fats (think olive oil, tree nuts, and seafood) as well as loads of plant-based foods—including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes. Check out the ModiMed diet pyramid here.

And now for the recipe…

Makes two serves, each one providing 695kcal (2910kJ).

What You’ll Need:

2 salmon fillets, skin removed
3 tb extra virgin olive oil
3 stalks celery, sliced into 1cm pieces
2 tb pine nuts
8 Sicilian olives, pitted and halved
1 tb capers in brine, drained
1 tb brine (from capers)
Handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Handful dill, roughly chopped
Zest of ½ lemon, finely grated
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Black pepper, to taste

Method:

In a heavy-based pan (cast iron is great), heat two tablespoons of olive oil over a high heat. Wait until nice and hot, then add the pine nuts and celery. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5minutes, or until the pine nuts are lightly browned.

Transfer to a bowl, then add the olives, capers, brine, lemon zest, and juice. Lastly add the fresh herbs and combine well. Season with black pepper, to taste.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and heat over a medium heat. Cook the salmon for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until done to your liking.

Serve the salmon with brown rice or quinoa, plus a big colourful salad. Spoon over the salsa prior to serving. Enjoy!

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