Food for the brain recipe: Salmon and Ginger Parcels


Your brain is really fat! In fact, 60% of it is made up of fatty acids, these are the long snake-like building blocks of fat molecules required for proper brain structure and function. Fatty acids come in many varieties, yet the brain has a clear favourite — and salmon is full of it. More than two-thirds of the brain’s fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found primarily in oily fish, although some vegetarian sources exist as well. We are metabolically incapable of making DHA on our own and must, therefore, get it from our diet.

DHA is like a warm winter coat for your neurons, or brain cells, making up a majority of their cell membrane, the cell’s outer coating. Just as my Mother would never let me leave the house without my Winter coat, you wouldn’t want to starve your brain cells of DHA. This essential fatty acid protects neurons from injury, reduces cerebral inflammation, helps produce neurotransmitters that tell cells what to do and is essential for quick information transfer down the axon, the neuron’s highway.

175-200g slice of salmon fillet (per person)
1 carrot or handful of green beans
3/4 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp sherry or balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of Tamari
Selection of fresh herbs to your liking
1/2 tsp of sesame oil
Dash of olive oil

Warm the oven to 200C. Julienne the carrot (slice into thin batons about 3-4 mm thick). Finely chop the garlic and grate the ginger. Lay out a sheet of baking parchment approximately 6 inches longer than the piece of salmon. Arrange the carrot on the parchment in an oblong, the size of your piece of salmon. Pop the salmon on top. Over the salmon, squeeze the juice out of the ginger, sprinkle on garlic, add herbs, splash with tamari, sesame oil and olive oil. Bring the long sides of the parchment together and fold them over twice to crimp closed. Holding them firmly, crimp over the end of the parchment to form a bag. You can do this several hours in advance and then pop the parcels in the fridge for later. Just get them out and cook in the usual way once the oven has come up to temperature. Place the parcel or parcels on flat baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes. To serve, unwrap each paper parcel on a plate so that people can open their own at the table. Serve with steamed vegetables or a salad.

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