Saturday, January 9, 2010

Zander with lime sweet potatoes & persimmon chutney + my lab results

In finnish: Kuhaa limebataatilla ja persimmon-chutneyllä

Zander is a highly valued fish in Finland known for it's soft, unique flavor. It consequently happens to be one of the most expensive fishes in stores. I love fish, but I am picky when it comes to selecting it. We always buy wild-caught fish, usually species which come from relatively clean waters. This zander has been caught by a family member from a lake not too far away. Next year, we talked about going to fish ourselves.

Clearly, I am not a vegan. To me, eating fish and meat from the nature is natural (in moderation). Since childhood I have disliked red meat, and I doubt I'd ever touch beef or pork. However, though I haven't yet, if the opportunity presented itself I might be interested in trying some organic lamb or wild game. Currently, we eat fish 2-4 times a week and organic chicken maybe once in a blue moon. I serve my 13-month-old daughter organic turkey/chicken 1-2 times a week and fish 2-4 times. This is because I feel strongly that growing children need a lot of vitamin B12 in their diets. She has not had any red meat yet, and we probably won't give her any unless for some reason we were having some organic or wild meat.

Speaking of B12, I had some blood tests done as a part of starting my new job. Here are a few highlights:

B12 = 228 pmol/l (normal range 180-700)
Cholesterol = 3.1 mmol/l (<5)
HDL-Cholesterol (good) = 1.42 mmol/l (>1)
LDL-Choleserol = 1.4 (<3)
GT (indicator of liver health) = 6 (10-45)
TSH (thyroid hormone) = 2.3 (0.3-4.5)

So, even though I am eating fish several times every week and usually eat 1-2 organic eggs a week as well, I still have B12 count on the lower end of normal. I do not supplement, and according to the doctor there is no need to start doing either. But clearly this shows that, if you are a vegan or eat only little meat you should definitely have your values tested. A B12 deficiency can cause permanent brain damage. Other than this, my cholesterol levels, liver tests and hormone tests were to quote the doctor "perfect". The fact that my GT-value is below the normal margin is only good, the higher it is the more likely you are to suffer from a liver condition such as cirrhosis later in life. The thyroid test is also almost exactly in the middle of the range, indicating an optimal level. Maybe it is the coconut oil!

Well, now on to the recipe. I was planning on serving the zander with the sweet potatoes and a persimmon salsa inspired by Yaelian's marinated persimmon salad (in finnish). Unfortunately I discovered that my persimmons were too mushy to be diced in any way, so I decided to make a chutney-type sauce to go with the fish and yams.

Zander fillets:
2 zander fillets
Himalayan salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried lemon zest or a little more fresh
organic cold-pressed coconut oil

Warm up the coconut oil in a pan and add lemon zest. Then on medium heat saute the salted and peppered fish fillets until just done, don't overcook. Always keep heat low to avoid destroying the healthy fats in the fish.

Spicy lime sweet potatoes:
2 large sweet potatoes
juice of 2 large limes
1-2 tbsp honey
organic chili powder
Himalayan salt
freshly ground black pepper
organic olive oil

Cut the sweet potatoes into around 1/3 inch thick and wide sticks, squeeze lime juice on top. Add honey, olive oil and other spices. Mix until the seasoning is evenly spread. Bake in a 375F/200C until they have softened but still have a bite to them.

Raw persimmon chutney
3 ripe, mushy persimmons
2 small red onions
2 tbsp fresh parsley
0,5 tsp balsamic vinegar (or raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar)
Himalayan salt
Black pepper

Finely dice the red onions and chop the fresh parsley. Blend persimmons until smooth. Mix in a serving dish with minced onion, vinegar and spices.

I had intended the chutney more for the sweet potatoes, but we were both surprised how well it complemented the fish as well. They all worked well together, but especially the yams and the chutney turned out to be a match made in heaven. Try it out, easy to make and the ingredients are in season!

Hope you all have a nice weekend and like my new blog layout :) I will be posting some recipes that have come out of my dehydrator experiments once I get them all polished and perfected.


Yaelian said...

You are so lucky to get freshly caught zander,which is a good fish.
I eat fish too,no meat,no eggs, and I do take B12 supplements,although I forget to take them regularly.I had a complete set of blood tests in August, and everything was perfect:-)

Aletheia said...

I know I am, it felt almost too precious to take out of the freezer and eat... :) Then I figured it will only taste worse after being frozen a long time, so better to eat it sooner than later. Glad to hear your blood tests were in order! It is good to have everything checked every now and then, even if it is just in case.

M. said...

The thyroid level is definitely not optimal! Over 2 almost certainly means you're hypothyroid. Originally the ULN used to be 10, then 5, then 4, but doctors want to lower it to 2.5 and many feel that even 2 is too much.