It’s summertime, and the grilling is easy.
Once of the joys of summertime is the barbecue. Nothing tastes better than food cooked outdoors over an open fire. But cooking muscle meats and other protein foods at high heats can create carcinogenic chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). In addition, Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are also created. The more AGEs we have, the more oxidative stress in our bodies, accelerating aging and disease risk in all organ systems, including skin. In fact, AGEs play a key role in both healthy aging and preventing wrinkles and deeply lined, sagging skin.
We can still barbecue and reduce our risk of creating toxins if we follow a few simple rules.
1. Choose lean meat, ideally from grass fed cattle or lamb, fish and free-range poultry; trim any excess fat from meat and remove skin from poultry.
2. Marinate before cooking. By marinating and/or basting most foods prior to or during cooking we can cut way back on the AGEs created. Use vinegar, citrus juice, herbs, spices, red wine and olive oil in your marinades because they have antioxidant properties
3. Keep your grill clean; remove any build up of charred food
4. Avoid charring food; remove any charred areas from food before eating
5. Try poaching food on the grill. Nothing is more delicious that salmon poached in an aluminum foil packet, whether in the oven or on the grill.
Wild salmon is in season and is an excellent barbecue choice. It is also one of the world’s most “wine friendly” entrees, working well with crisp whites or more robust reds. For optimum flavor and anti-oxidants, try Pinot Noir or a glass of iced green tea with this dish.
Salmon, Chicken or Tofu Kabobs with a Basting Marinade of Fresh Lime and Rosemary
Makes 4 servings
4 (6-oz. each) skinless-boneless wild salmon fillets, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or bricks of firm tofu, cut into chunks
4 large white mushrooms
1 medium zucchini sliced
1 large red bell pepper seeded and quartered
1 large onion peeled and quartered
freshly ground black pepper
Note: If using wooden skewers soak in water for at least an hour, so they don’t scorch on grill.
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (use organic lemons to avoid the pesticide residues that accumulate in citrus rinds)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
• Wash mushrooms; remove and discard stems. Wash peppers and remove seeds.
• Thread vegetables onto skewers. Cook on grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with marinade. Grilled veggie kabobs make the perfect accompaniment to our savory skewered salmon, chicken or tofu
• Rinse the fish, chicken or tofu and pat dry. Cut into large cubes suitable for skewering.
• Place the salmon cubes in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with freshly grated sea salt and pepper.
• Place the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until blended.
• Pour the marinade over the fish and marinate for at least 10 minutes.
• Lace the salmon, chicken or tofu onto the skewers and broil (or grill) for 5 minutes, turning once.
• While the fish (et al) is cooking, pour the marinade in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat.
Divide the fish among 4 serving plates and spoon some of the heated marinade over each. Garnish each plate with a few lime slices and a sprig of fresh rosemary and serve.
As an active researcher I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Nicholas Perricone, MD, FACN, CNS