Ode to frozen vegetables

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October 19, 2009

10:42 AM

It’s not a poem or ballad, but an ode nevertheless. Frozen vegetables make my list as one of the top five best inventions of all time — and I’m not kidding.

Seriously, frozen vegetables do not get enough love. Just because they aren’t “fresh” doesn’t mean they aren’t fantastic. Not only are they cheaper (sometimes half the price) but they are easier to use and can have more nutritional value than fresh vegetables.

This is because they are given a “flash freeze” where they are rapidly cooled down at the time they are harvested, so they are picked at their peak and retain their nutrients.

You can buy blends, too, like harvest blends with corn and squash or stir fry blends with peppers, string beans, and baby corn.

A lot of time the vegetables are cut down to similar sizes, so you can skip having to prep them. And you don’t have leftovers that go just sit in your refrigerator; you can just put what you don’t use back in the freezer.

For all these reasons, I love using frozen vegetables.

For this recipe, I paired Trader Joe’s stir fry vegetable medley with a Japanese teriyaki salmon to keep the Asian theme going. Salmon is pretty pricey, usually $7 to 10 per pound, but it’s my favorite fish and way easy to prepare — you hardly need any seasonings, you could use just salt, pepper, and a lemon wedge if you’d like.

For my Asian-inspired salmon, I just used bit of store-bought teriyaki sauce I had sitting in the fridge. Dijon mustard is also a really good way to go. The following stove top/oven method is the way I’ve always cooked my salmon, and I’ve always had amazing results:

• Preheat oven to 350ºF.
• In an oven-safe saucepan, heat about a tablespoon or so of oil over not quite medium-high heat.
• Place your seasoned salmon fillets (make sure you’ve taken the bones out if you didn’t get boneless) in the oil, skin side up, for about three or four minutes.
• Flip salmlon and place in oven for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your preference. (I like my salmon pretty rare.)

While your salmon is in the oven, cook your vegetables according to package instructions and all of a sudden you’ve got yourself a meal to rival Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals” anyday.

Bon appétit!

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