Whenever I visit my parents without my hubby, I try to make or eat at least one homemade fish dish, since he’s allergic. This last time in Modesto, I went to the store with my dad and brother with a plan. A plan to buy fish! At first we looked at the salmon, which looked okay but not great. Plus it was from Chile. The steelhead (technically a trout, not a salmon at all), however, looked much nicer, was less costly and from the USA. Hurray! It has a softer soother texture with a richer texture anyway. Yum! For the holidays I got my parents a bunch of fun food gifts of all kinds, two of which were quinoa (Costco-sized quantity or buy in bulk at a local organic market, like Community Market or Oliver’s) and fenugreek (from Savory Spice). What better time and way to introduce them?!

Quinoa is great! You can use it in all sorts of ways, as a ground flour, in place of rice or couscous, on salads, however you like. I actually really want to get a quinoa cookbook. (If you don’t want to buy a book there are plenty of recipes on the internet.) As an ancient “grain” from Bolivia, it is a traditional food of the Incas. Actually it’s a non-grain seed and gluten-free. It actually has lots of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Supposedly quinoa helps eliminate migraines and headaches. It has a low glycemic index of 35 (especially important for diabetics and those cutting calories), compared to brown basmati rice at 50 and white at up to 87. Nutritious and delicious! Here’s some more information.

Fenugreek has a whole boat load of medicinal benefits (please check with doctor or herbalist first; I’m neither). In my herb and spice cabinet I have the leaf and seed, because they smell and taste so marvelous! Although it does contain some phytoestrogens (so don’t eat too much of it), they really just effect breast feeding mothers from what I can tell. Due to its natural slightly sweet maple-like flavor, it’s used to make imitation maple syrup. Fenugreek helps with blood sugar regulation and lowers cholesterol, which is good for diabetics. It’s a great digestive aid for people like my brother and me with digestion problems and acid reflux, which is another reason I got it. Amazing! It also reduces tissue inflammation, pain and swelling and can be used as a sore throat gargle or in poultice on your skin.

Salmon with Fenugreek Aioli and Quinoa
Adapted from Marla’s recipe.
Serves 4

Quinoa Ingredients
1 C White, Black or Red Quinoa, rinsed
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, optional
2 C Filtered Water or Vegetable Broth
1 tsp Dried Basil Leaves
1/2 tsp Coarse Ground Garlic Powder with Parsley

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water running through it turns clear. Remove as much water from the quinoa as possible. If you like, toast the quinoa (to bring out a nutty favor) in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Bring the grains and water to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Start soaking the fenugreek. Cook the quinoa for 15 minutes. During the last five minutes, start cooking the fish. Remove the pot from the heat. Start making the aioli. Though you may be tempted, do not uncover the quinoa yet! Let the grains rest for 5 minutes. Remove the lid. Fluff the quinoa with a fork to get rid of excess moisture and mix in the basil and garlic. Add more seasonings if necessary, like I did.

Fish Ingredients
2 lbs Steelhead Trout (4 Filets in 4 oz portions)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning Blend

Place the oven rack on the rung closest to the heating element. Preheat the broiler to low heat. Rise the fish and thoroughly pat it dry. Lightly coat the broiler grill with oil. Brush both sides of the filets with oil. Season the flesh with paprika, garlic, salt and Mrs. Dash to form a crust of sorts. Add more seasonings if necessary. Place the fish on the broiler pan flesh side down. Cook the fish for 4 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over with a long metal spatula. Cook the fish another 5 to 6 minutes, depending on your oven’s temperature. Remove the broiling pan from the oven. Loosely tent the pan with foil.

Aioli Ingredients
2-2 1/2 T Dried Fenugreek Leaves
4 T Filtered Water
3 oz Vegan Mayonnaise with Canola or Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon (4 tsp), juice of
1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Black or Mixed Peppercorns, ground

Mix the fenugreek with water in a small bowl. Tightly cover and soak the herbs for 10 minutes. Squeeze the leaved with your fingers to make sure the leaves are fully saturated. Strain the leaves, reserving the liquid. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or in a medium bowl with a fork. While mixing, slowly add the reserved infusion to the aioli to thin it into a sauce. Adjust other seasonings to your liking.

Carefully transfer a fillet of fish to your plate with a long or wide spatula. Spoon the aioli onto the side of your plate, onto the fish or into an accompanying serving bowl. (It’s so good you may want more.) Get yourself about 1/4 of the quinoa.

Instead of a salad, we had a variety of vegetables for dinner; my mom’s allergic to asparagus. Plus, it’s always better to have at least 2/3 of your plate covered in nutrient-rich vegetables. No, potatoes do not count, since they are so starchy.