Let Your Food Be Medicine

Much has been written here and elsewhere about the benefits of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to lowering cholesterol and improving cardiovascular health, studies have shown that supplementing with as little as a gram a day of fish oil can reduce symptoms of depression by as much as 50%. This is especially good news at this time of year when many people experience mild cases of depression, perhaps due to shorter days/less time in sunlight, the stress of the holidays, lack of exercise due to weather or a combination of circumstances. Don’t let diminished stores of omega-3 fatty acids add to the problem!


Besides walnuts and flax seeds, salmon is a terrific source of this invaluable nutrient. And while the season for fresh wild-caught salmon is quickly coming to an end, the good news is that frozen wild-caught salmon is not only available year-round, but it is good, and actually considerably more affordable than fresh!

I’m also a big fan of frozen salmon patties. (Be sure to check labeling, and purchase only those without added bread or cracker crumbs.) Salmon patties don’t need to be thawed either, and with a sprinkle of cajun seasoning and about 4 minutes per side in a medium-hot, lightly oiled skillet, they will be cooked to moist perfection. Served over a bed of mixed greens with tomato, avocado and red onion, this makes a quick and satisfying lunch or light dinner.  

Packaged in individual servings and shrink wrapped, frozen salmon filets are also convenient; they will thaw in under an hour. Another alternative, if you are really in a hurry, is to remove the plastic, run the filets under cold water just long enough to melt any ice glaze on the fish, dry them with a paper towel, season, and cook them frozen! I know, this was news to me too, but it works remarkably well. Try it and see!


Sometimes less is more, and a simple seasoning of salt and coarse-ground pepper is all you need. Round out your meal with some steamed veggies and a salad with walnuts for some additional omega-3 fatty acids, and chase those winter blues away! 

Serves 4

4 frozen or thawed wild-caught salmon filets

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice from 1/2 a lemon, optional

If using frozen filets, remove wrap from fish and quickly rinse any ice glaze from the frozen filets under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. 

Place salmon in the hot skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip fish over and cover pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook an additional 6-8 minutes if your filets are frozen, or 3-4 minutes if they were thawed before cooking.

Remove from pan and sprinkle with lemon juice if desired.



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