Health

Heart-healthy eating, plus a heart-smart recipe!

Canadian Living
Health

Heart-healthy eating, plus a heart-smart recipe!

Walnut Crusted Cod February is Heart Month. And although it’s the time of year that we want to be eating comfort foods, it’s actually a great time to think about eating well for your heart. I asked Fina Scroppo, the woman behind The Healthy Italian cookbook, to share her secrets for heart-healthy eating, plus I got her to share a delicious recipe that happens to be great for the heart. And with Valentine’s Day tomorrow, what better time to make a heart-protective dinner for your sweetie? Maintaining a healthy body goes hand in hand with eating heart-healthy foods. In my kitchen, I rely on a multitude of ingredients to keep the heart pumping and the body fuelled. Complex Carbs My favourites among the carbohydrates group are those grains that not only have a low glycemic index but are also fantastic for the texture and taste they lend to dishes. Barley, one of the oldest cultivated grains, for example, is a superfood that I love in soups and salads, or even risotto. Another worthy mention is oats, which lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol levels. Whirl them in a food processor and use them in place of breadcrumbs in dishes like meatballs or meatloaf, or mill them to a flour consistency for a great addition to baked goods. Legumes My pantry is always stocked with legumes, and for good reason. While small in size, protein- and fibre-rich legumes stabilize blood sugar so you feel full for longer. Dried beans like Romano, cannellini and chickpeas pack an inexpensive protein punch, but my favourite legumes are red lentils that cook in little time to add gusto and bulk to soups. Antioxidants Of course, antioxidant-rich foods like tomatoes, radicchio, arugula and pomegranates are the jewels of the produce department. Their pop of colour signals their potency to protect the body from life-threatening illnesses like heart disease. The Recipe: Walnut-Crusted Cod With Raisins This heart-healthy recipe stars walnuts and cod fish, which offer a terrific source of omega-3 fatty acids when combined. In the nut family, walnuts have the highest concentration of a type of essential omega-3s called alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which is effective in lowering blood pressure. This easy weeknight dinner makes eating smart for the heart a cinch. Ingredients: 1½ lbs (680 g) fresh thick cod fillet ¼ cup spelt or whole wheat dry breadcrumbs 2 tbsp golden raisins ¼ cup walnut pieces, finely chopped 1 tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste ¼ cup white wine 12 small black olives (like Gaeta variety) in brine, rinsed and drained 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley   Cut cod fillet into four pieces. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small non-stick skillet, add breadcrumbs and toast on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until lightly golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. In the meantime, soak raisins in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, walnut pieces and cheese. Drizzle olive oil over mixture and toss until mixture is moist and crumbly. Coat a 9 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Season cod pieces lightly with salt and pepper and place in baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle with white wine. Spoon breadcrumb-walnut mixture evenly over piece of fish and gently press down. Scatter raisins and olives around cod. Bake until fish is opaque in the centre and flakes easily with fork, about 15 minutes. Reset oven to broiler setting and cook fish about 1 to 2 minutes until topping is golden brown. Top with parsley and serve. 4 Servings 30 MIN OR LESS Recipe excerpted from The Healthy Italian By Fina Scroppo (Danvid & Company Inc.). (Photography: Michael Rao)
Comments
Share X
Health

Heart-healthy eating, plus a heart-smart recipe!

Login