The ingredients in this easy twist on a nicoise salad are called for to be measured and chopped. "This is the point where most recipes start — ingredients are washed, chopped, measured and ready to use. But this may not be included in the recipe time. That's not the way we get our ingredients from the grocery store," says Brissette, who works in the ELLICSR kitchen at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.
"Putting the recipe together is going to take a little more time than promised, especially if we take that 15-minute prep time and include that. So not starting with our ingredients ready to go does take some extra time. But to have a balanced meal like this on the table packed full of nutrition in about 40 minutes I think it's definitely worth it."
The more deep and rich colours you can incorporate into dishes means the more nutritious the content. "As dietitians like to say, 'Eat the rainbow,'" she says.
In this entree, which features green beans and cherry tomatoes, she suggests using heirloom potatoes, which have a range of colours. Purple potatoes, for instance, contain anthocyanin. The immunity-boosting and cancer-fighting antioxidant is also found in blueberries and pomegranates.
Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out their flavours, says Brissette. Chopping them into small pieces cuts cooking time. Be sure to preheat the oven so the fish and vegetables will be done at the same time.
When you want to get a meal on the table fast, choose a recipe without a lot of ingredients, steps, utensils and pans. "If it takes you 30 minutes to read the ingredient list it's too long. Turn the page. Scroll on," says Brissette.
Here are some more time-saving tips:
— Purchase pitted olives and prewashed chopped vegetables.
— A mandoline with assorted attachments can speed up slicing of shallots and onions.
— Garlic can take a lot of time to peel. Place the bulb on a firm surface, put your hand over top and lean into it or rap it firmly with the bottom of a bowl or can to release much of the skin from the cloves. Using the blade of a chef's knife, crush down on individual cloves, which helps get the papery skin off quickly and easily.
— Grate garlic cloves on a rasp. You won't have to dig garlic pieces out of a press and chop them and you'll waste less. You can also purchase jarred minced garlic.
— Substitute dried herbs for fresh. Use a ratio of one to three, so 5 ml (1 tsp) of dried for 15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh.
— Line casserole dishes and baking pans with parchment paper to save cleanup time; you don't have to scrub the bottom of the pan after ingredients have been cooked.
Tuna Steaks With Nicoise Potatoes and Green Beans
Tuna is an excellent source of protein and a good source of healthy fat with omega-3 fatty acids, which is important for heart health. You can also substitute salmon, steelhead trout or arctic char, which are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
A skillet is a fast way to cook fish on the stovetop. Thinner pieces (1 to 2 cm/1/2 to 3/4 inch thick) will cook faster. Ask your fishmonger to cut it for you.
750 g (1 1/2 lb) small heirloom potatoes (2.5 cm/1 inch), quartered
340 g (3/4 lb) thin green beans
500 ml (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
125 to 175 ml (1/2 to 3/4 cup) pitted nicoise olives
8 shallots, peeled, leaving root end attached, cut lengthwise into thin wedges
6 cloves garlic, crushed
Few sprigs each fresh thyme and rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped, or 5 ml (1 tsp) dried of each
50 ml plus 15 ml (1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
4 tuna steaks (each 175 g/6 oz), preferably sustainable and line-caught
5 ml (1 tsp) herbes de Provence
2 lemons, halved
Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 245 C (475 F).
Line a casserole dish or a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, olives, shallots, garlic, thyme and rosemary with 50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper; spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet or grill over medium-high and season tuna with herbes de Provence, sea salt and pepper. (When a droplet of water sprinkled in pan sizzles it's ready for food.) Drizzle pan with remaining 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil. Add lemons, cut side down, and tuna. Cook lemons until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Cook tuna to desired doneness, about 2 minutes per side for pink centres and 3 minutes per side for opaque centres. Transfer to a serving plate.
Serve tuna with vegetables and lemons.
Makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from www.rachaelray.com/.