There are times especially during these cold winter months when we get cold after cold, we feel tired or generally feel low with little energy. This is when diet can help a great deal to bring our energy back and in boosting our immune system to help fight all the bugs that go round.
I believe the best thing we can do for ourselves is to tuck into what these days are called "Superfoods" or foods that have many health benefits.
We all know that mackerel is rich in omega 3 and its oily meat has long been known for its many properties like anti-cancer, it can help to relieve arthritis pain, it's good for mental health and helps to strengthen the immune system.
Kale seems to be the latest trend. It has always been known in Italy as "Cavolo Nero" although it is slightly different as it has curly and crinkly green leaves.
It has anti-cancer properties, it is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamin C, calcium and iron, it has anti-inflammatory properties and as it is rich in fiber. It contains very few calories, all in all this is the perfect food to keep fit.
So here it is my meal for today: mackerel with quinoa (rich in proteins) and spicy kale. I added some anchovy fillets, chilly and sesame seeds + lemon juice to it to better bring out the flavour of the kale which was tasty and I must say quite addictive. It really is an interesting leaf.
Do not forget the condiments. Regardless of the cooking method you choose, a healthy dose of oil with lemon and/or vinegar (I love apple vinegar) adds flavor, transforming your kale into a delicacy.
I have served this with quinoa but you can use rice, couscous, Bulgar wheat or any carbohydrate you prefer.
- Prep Time : 40 minutes
- Cook Time : 30 minutes
- mackerel - 4 x 170 g / 6 oz
- kale leaves - 200 g / 7 oz
- uncooked quinoa - 190 g / 1 cup
- parsley - a small bunch
- olive oil
- fresh chilly - 1
- sesame seeds - 2 tbsp
- unwaxed or organic lemon - 2
- blanched almonds - a handful
- garlic cloves - 6
- cherry tomatoes - 10
- bay leaves - 4
- anchovy fillets - 3
- rosemary - 4 sticks
Place the mackerels on a baking tray over a sheet of baking paper and season them with salt. Make 3 incisions on the skin, put a stick of rosemary, a garlic clove, a bay leaf and some chopped parsley inside each cavity.
Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze with lemon juice and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 200C or 392F or until the flesh pulls away from the bone.
Clean the kale cutting away the center stalk, keeping the tender leaves trimming any bruised ones. Wash the leaves under the tap.
Bring to the boil 1 Liter or 4.23 cups of water then when it is boiling put the kale in and simmer for 5 minutes then drain.
Chop the garlic, the anchovies and the chilly. In a pan heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil then stir fry the garlic with the anchovies and the chilly for a couple of minutes.
In a separate pan toast the sesame seeds. Add the kale, to the pan with the anchovies and garlic and the sesame seeds; season with salt (if using). Cook for about 10 minutes stirring all the time
Rinse the quinoa under the tap in a meshed strainer. If you can do that for 1 or 2 minutes this will greatly help removing it bitter coating.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan then add the quinoa and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add 2 cups of water, use a 2:1 ratio. So 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry quinoa.
Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
The germ has to separate from the seed. The cooked germ should have a slight bite to it . What in Italian we call "al dente".
When it is cooked add the chopped cherry tomatoes, some lemon zest and juice and 1 tbsp of chopped parsley.
Fillet the cooked mackerel and serve it with the quinoa and the kale and a few toasted almonds. Squeeze some lemon juice over the fish and the kale and sprinkle with chopped parsley.