Le Regime: Salmon with Soy Butter

March 4, 2014

Hey, it can’t be all olive oil, all the time. Sometimes you just need a little butter in your life. Well, at least I do.

Now let it be noted that I said a little. I feel the need to mention this because everyone’s favorite artery-clogger, Paula Deen, featured a recipe on the Food Network during an episode of her show titled “The Lighter Side.” The recipe, which I’m sure is delicious, called for 8 tablespoons of butter.

Interesting! I didn’t know that cooking fish for 4 people in a stick of butter was an ass-reducing method! Even I, who suckity-suck at math can figure that that’s 2 tablespoons of butter per person, adding an additional 200 calories per serving.

Now I don’t know about y’all, but if I’m going to consume 200 extra calories, it’s gonna be on a Mojito or something, not fish, for Heaven’s sake.

Which brings me to another point. Americans are fat. We are fatter than ever. We are also busier than ever and work harder than ever. Which means that when hunger strikes, we often eat out. And when we eat out, we don’t really know how our meal is prepared behind the closed doors of a restaurant kitchen.

Oh, sure, we think we do. We’re not stupid. Any person worried about the size of her backside knows that she shouldn’t order the Fettuccine Alfredo, the Chicken-Fried Steak or the gut bomb that is the Outback Blooming Onion.

A girl who worries about the size of her butt navigates a menu carefully, makes shrewd decisions. She orders the Chopped Salad, the Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry, the Asian Grilled Salmon with Rice.

Menu-Savvy Girl, I applaud you. You are diligent and you are wise. So…why is your ass still fat?

Your ass is still fat because even when you make “smart” entree choices, the chef behind the closed door fattens it up with plenty of butter or oil or cream because–NewsFlash! Butter and oil and cream make food taste delicious!

Case in Point: I was leafing through my husband’s Men’s Health magazine (which is a great magazine, by the way) and stumbled across an article about this very same issue. Health-conscious diner walks into a restaurant, scans the menu, makes health-conscious entree selection. Wrong-o.

Say, for instance, you walk into P.F. Changs China Bistro. You are informed enough to avoid calorie grenades like the fried Crab and Cream Cheese Wontons, the Dan-Dan Noodles or the General Tso’s Chicken. You aren’t stupid.

You choose a healthy menu option like Asian Grilled Salmon with Rice. You eat your meal, enjoy the time out, feel good about your healthy dinner. Which had, unbeknownst to you, 734 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1,306 mg of sodium.

Is your jaw on the floor? Good, because mine sure was. Because you know what? I’ve actually ordered and eaten that thing. That flubbery sound you’re hearing? That’s the junk in my trunk. It’s growing.

My point, and it’s a cruel one, is that eating out on a regular basis will make you fat, even when you’re trying to make informed food choices. Truly, the only way you can control the fat and calorie content in your food is to make it yourself. Sorry. I know that message sucks really hard.

I guess the only good news is that eating at home will also save you money, so there’s solace in that. I think we’re all a little worried about money nowadays, right?

I not telling you to stop eating at restaurants. Even I am not that big of a bitch. Eating out is fun, and social, and part of a balanced life. I definitely eat out, and I’m concerned about my health and the size of my hiney.

I’m just making the leeeetle suggestion that you eat out less. As in, less than one meal out of three, which is what the average American does. That’s kind of a scary statistic there.

And instead of eating that P.F. Chang’s ass-busting salmon, I’m making this. If you are strictly on Le Regime, serve without rice or with brown rice instead of white. I was in a cheating mood, so I steamed up some basmati. YES, I am already cheating. I am shameless.

Salmon with Ginger Soy Butter serves 4 from Men’s Health Magazine

4 salmon fillets, 4 to 6 ounces each 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour or two 1/2 tablespoon minced chives 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated Juice of one lemon 1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

Combine everything except the salmon in a bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are incorporated.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil or canola oil in a large stainless-steel saute pan over medium-high heat.* Season the salmon with salt and pepper; when the oil is lightly smoking, add the fish, flesh side down, to the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the skin is lightly charred and crisp.** Flip the fish and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the flesh flakes with gentle pressure from your finger but is still slightly translucent in the middle. (Salmon is best served medium, but if you want yours completely cooked, saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.)

Serve the salmon with a generous spoonful of the flavored butter, which should begin to melt on contact.***

per serving: 390 calories (salmon only, cooked the Men’s Health way; my way is more like 337). cost per serving: $2.46

* I am lucky enough to own a Calphalon ridged grill pan. It’s awesome. It’s extremely efficient and non-stick, so I got away with brushing the salmon fillets with a mere 1/2 tablespoon of oil and then plopping them onto my grill pan. It came out perfect, did not stick and I saved 150 calories in the overall dish. If you don’t have this pan, you should get one. Only caveat: do not put your expensive Calphalon pan in the dishwasher. Hand-wash this baby. The dishwasher will take away all of it’s magical non-stick capabilities. I learned this the hard way.

** If you prefer, you can use skinless salmon fillets

*** I decided to melt the butter and combine it with the rest of the sauce ingredients, because I wanted to be able to drizzle a little of it over the side dishes of rice and steamed snap peas. It tasted terrific this way!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin March 4, 2014 at 5:23 pm

My husband loves salmon. I can take it or leave it. I especially hate the smell of fish that lingers in the house afterwards. But, your recipe sounds easy and looks delicious. I’m sure my husband would prefer it over my boring recipe that uses olive oil with very little butter, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. I always serve it with basmati rice.

We rarely eat out. I almost always cook with olive oil and I hate salt. It is true that fat and salt add lots of flavor. I really enjoy fat and sugar. Desserts are my weakness. I think I’ll get some ice cream now that we have started talking about things that are delicious and bad for you. Hopefully, my hiney will not find out.

I love all of my Calphalon cookware, but I don’t have the ridged pan. I used to have a cast-iron Lodge ridged pan. I hated cleaning it, so I removed it from my kitchen in one of my moves.


Alison March 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Yum, this looks delicious!


Anonymous March 4, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I have to say, I’ve been anonymously following your blog for a few years, now, and I do truly love it, but(t): some of us love our big butts. I have a donk and hips and strong thighs and I love them all; I wouldn’t be me without them, and I’m proud to have them.
This is not to say I’m against healthy eating and living–I’m not. I grew up on (delicious!) home-cooked food, surrounded by an active, healthy family and I, though still a student, still maintain that lifestyle; I cook for myself, rarely eat out, and exercise regularly. The rest of me is perfectly healthy and “normal”-sized; my butt is just the way I’m built, and I’ve embraced it. But I couldn’t have done it without family and friends who accepted it, too, and told me “your donk is great,” “you’re going to have an easy time birthing babies,” etc. If my friends or female family members constantly complained about and criticized my body, or even their own, I think I would have a very different outlook on my own body, and my relationship with it and with food would probably not be a healthy one.
While everyone is entitled to have their own opinions about their bodies and beauty certainly is in the eye of the beholder, I just ask that you be careful, and be mindful of the messages vulnerable minds are picking up when you’re focusing on your “fat” ass. Even if you’re only jesting about it, little ears pick up and internalize a lot without themselves or us even realizing it.


Jamie March 4, 2014 at 8:17 pm

ONE MEAL OUT OF THREE?! Who eats like this?! Tell me so I can beg them to take me to Olive Garden. My man is so cheap, I’m lucky if I squeeze a retaurant-dinner date out of him once a month! With maybe a Chipotle trip sprinkled in there somewhere if he’s feeling real spendy ;)


elizabeth March 5, 2014 at 9:13 am

I wish I could say that I was surprised about that one-meal-in-three statistic, but I’m honestly not given all of the people who fill up my building’s cafeteria at lunch time. (Meanwhile, I’m among the few who religiously brings her lunch in from home.)

This definitely looks like a better alternative to PF Chang’s ridiculous concoctions (I’ve never been to one, and I really don’t have any interest in going to one) and it’s far healthier than the pan-fried perch with shrimp Diane that I made in honor of Marid Gras. But I served mine with a salad and refused to use as much butter as the recipe called for so I hope that mitigates the bombing a bit.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes March 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm

That salmon looks delicious!
And just out of curiosity : how much is a stick of butter? Or a tablespoon? 100gr? 200gr. Please help this poor European out…


Quarterto5 March 6, 2014 at 9:21 am

Hi Tinne.

A stick of butter is 8 tablespoons, or somewhere right around 113 grams.


sisters from another mister March 6, 2014 at 5:32 am

In a world where we are blasted with the harsh realities of what the size of our ass is actually doing to the health of our heart … thank you for your light hearted view of the evils in the kitchen.
Let me share this with you – we were told this last week at the pediatrician … (it was for my ‘little ears’) A study was done of bodies of children who had passed in accidents or such, they discovered that they already had build up in their arteries. They then took it further to discover that this starts while we are in the womb … color me shocked.
So spritzing truffle oil in your pan, or a little sesame ginger oil … my new love, leaves room for those fat free mojitos and makes me a happy mama ;)


Tiffany March 8, 2014 at 6:33 am

Sounds yummy!


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