Move over salmon! Get your omega 3s from this wild cedar plank trout with Asian guacamole, plus, learn what makes wild trout is a Good Mood Food.
Almost weekly, my husband pesters me to open my own restaurant. I don't know much about the restaurant business, but I do know enough to know that I have zero desire to do such a thing.
Then every so often, I come up with a dish so perfect that I think to myself "maybe he's on to something!" This is one of those dishes. Fatty trout soaks up delicious flavors from the cedar plank and smokiness from the grill. Guacamole spiked with Asian flavors from ginger, lime, mint and cilantro adds a burst of fresh flavor and creaminess. And I'm pretty proud of the lemon glazed roasted radishes with pea shoots I came up with on a whim. I'd happily spend $25 on this meal.
Speaking of happy, the omega 3 packed trout in this dish is, you guessed it, a good mood food! There's probably no nutrient more intensely studied for it's role in brain health than omega 3 fats. If I had to name a number one food for mood, without a doubt it would be omega 3 rich fatty fish, like wild trout.
Since WWII, the rate of depression has increased 20-fold. Hmm, isn't that about the time real foods took a back seat to margarine, Swanson frozen meals, and cheez whiz. Coincidence? I think not. When processed foods went mainstream, intake of omega 3 fat declined dramatically.
Omega 3s in fatty fish affects the brain in many ways. All cell membranes are made of fat, but the only polyunsaturated fats the cell membranes in the brain can use are DHA (a type of omega 3) and arachadonic acid. The DHA fats create a more fluid cell membrane, improving brain functioning. Omega 3 fats also reduce inflammation in the brain and increase brain volume.
Studies have shown countries with the highest intakes of fatty fish have the lowest levels of depression. We also know people with depression have low levels of omega 3 fats in their blood. There's been countless numbers of studies showing omega 3 fats can reduce symptoms of depression, including one that found omega 3s as effective as prozac.
So you may be thinking why not just take a supplement? While omega 3s are great, there are many other brain boosting nutrients in fatty fish. One 3 ounce serving has almost 100% your daily needs of B12. A deficiency in B12 has been linked to depression, irritability and cognitive decline and it's estimated that 40% of people have suboptimal levels of B12 (considered a deficiency in other countries). Wild trout also packs a dose of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, also thought to be the culprit behind seasonal affective disorder. Almost 75% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D.
While I love salmon, the go to choice for omega 3 fats, I actually prefer trout, which is semi-local (North Carolina) to us. The taste is pretty similar to salmon, so feel free to swap out wild Alaskan salmon if that's easier to find. If you want to keep things local, my gulf coast friends could easily use shrimp!
Cedar Plank Trout with Asian Guacamole
Feel free to use any fatty fish you like, or try this with shrimp. Leftover guac is great as a dip with brown rice crackers.
- 2 cedar planks, soaked in water at least 2 hours
- 1 lb wild trout filets, cut in four pieces
- 1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
- 1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Set half the grill to medium-high heat.
- Drain the cedar planks and arrange the trout filets, skin side down, on top. Brush with sesame oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill on the opposite side of the heat source, cover, and cook 20-25 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove and set aside.
- To make guacamole, place all guac ingredients in a food processor and blend until pureed and well combined. Taste and season with more salt or lime juice if needed.
- Serve trout with a heft dollop of guac.
Lemon Sesame Roasted Radishes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 bunches radishes, leaves and stems removed, radishes halved or quartered if large
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from half a lemon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Pea shoots (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat olive oil in a large, oven safe skillet on medium high heat. Add radishes and saute about 5-7 minutes until lightly golden. Move to the oven and roast 10-15 minutes until browned and tender.
- While radishes are roasting, whisk together garlic, lemon zest and juice, honey, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds in a small bowl.
- Remove from oven and place back on the stovetop on medium high heat. Add sauce and pea shoots if using, stir to combine. Cook 2-3 minutes until glaze is thickened.
Inspired to eat more fatty fish? Check out these recipes: