You know I like to live in sync with the seasons, and that goes for how we eat as a family, as well. This Black Sesame Crusted Salmon we had for dinner recently hits the spot on many levels.
First, let’s talk about why these ingredients are beneficial, especially for this time of year. Winter in particular is a time to pay extra attention to your kidneys, and in Chinese medicine, nurturing your kidney energy is vital to your overall well-being. They are known as the keepers of your vital life energy, or Qi (pronounced CHI) that you’re born with, and it’s your kidney Qi that plays a large part in nourishing your body as a whole. Who knew they were so important?!
There are certain foods in particular that help aid the functions of your kidneys during the winter months, and I’ve used lots of them in this recipe. The black sesame seeds, for instance, help nurture kidney Qi, as do most seeds and nuts (like chia, walnut, flax, etc.). The black sesame seeds are the star of the show here, as you can see.
They stay affixed to the salmon with the help of a bit of avocado oil I lightly brushed on the filets before pressing them into the seeds. Avocado is also a nourishing tonic for the kidneys. And the salmon itself is packed with nutrition! I used king salmon for this recipe, which is a once-in-a-while splurge for me, but with Omega 3 fatty acids that decrease inflammation and protect against certain chronic diseases, while being a great source of protein, any salmon will do.
Purple potatoes are highly nutritious in and of themselves, with a wide range of minerals and vitamins – and more potassium than bananas! They also have a lower glycemic index (GI) than most other potatoes, thanks to their extra polyphenols, so if you’re watching your blood sugar, these potatoes are a wise choice. And they are loaded with antioxidants and gut-healthy resistant starch.
Bok Choy is high on the list for a healthy, leafy green that will nourish your kidney energy. While considered a cruciferous vegetable, I love that it’s easy to prep, mild in taste, and cooks fast, which is a much better alternative (for me personally) than broccoli or Brussels sprouts, which I love but take longer to cook and prep.
The water chestnuts pack a nutritious punch: they can reduce oxidative stress, are loaded with antioxidants, and again, super easy to prep! You can almost eat them straight out of the can: just rinse, and toss them right into your recipe. I simmer the potatoes, a shallot, some garlic, a bit of dried ginger and coriander in coconut milk (another wonderful addition to boost kidney energy), and at the very end I toss in the Bok Choy and water chestnuts.
Place the sesame salmon over a bed of the potato mixture, squeeze a bit of lime, top with cilantro, and savor this yin-boosting, kidney-Qi-nurturing, delicious dinner.
I linked the sesame seeds and avocado oil below. I’m excited to start using these powerhouse seeds even more in future recipes. Enjoy!