Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats and must be obtained from food—our body can’t make them. There are two types of omega-3s: those found in foods like flaxseed, walnuts, hemp and chia seeds, and green leafy vegetables (medium-chain omega-3s); and those found in salmon, sardines, tuna, anchovies, and other cold-water fish (long-chain omega-3s).
Often lacking in the American diet, omega-3s are vital to good health. According to Harvard University’s School of Public Health,
“Omega-3 fats have been shown to prevent heart disease and stroke and may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis……The strongest evidence for a beneficial effect of omega-3 fats has to do with heart disease. [These fats] lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve blood vessel function, and at higher doses, lower triglycerides and may ease inflammation which plays a role in the development of atherosclerosis.”
Canned fish is easy to keep on hand (Trader Joe’s carries a good selection). Pick up a few varieties next time you are at the store. The Wild Planet brand sold at PCC Natural Markets and Whole Foods are the larger Pacific sardines and packed in BPA-free cans.
CAESAR DRESSING WITH ANCHOVIES
Two things every cook should know about a Caesar Salad:
First, Caesar dressing doesn’t have to be made with raw eggs but it must include anchovies. With mustard, lemon, and freshly grated parm, the anchovies will not be noticed even by those who swear they would never eat anything that an anchovy has touched.
And secondly, the Caesar Salad was named after a chef in Tijuana and is to be eaten with just the end of the romaine spread with the dressing. Place a little dollop at the base of a leaf and then give the crisp, freshly-washed leaf a BIG CHOMP. The flavor of the dressing is enhanced when every inch of the romaine isn’t slathered in dressing. Taste the green. Taste the dressing. Repeat on the second half of the leaf. This is a very easy and fun hors d’ouvres. No bread, crackers, or croutons required!
I make a version of Chef Anne Burrell’s dressing. I like extra mustard and lemon, so I use:
Place all ingredients, except olive oil in Cuisinart and mix until incorporated, then add olive oil while machine is running until dressing reaches a smooth consistency. Taste, and add pepper and salt if necessary. Adjust with more oil or lemon if required. Shave a touch of parmesan over the leaves when serving.
SARDINES IN MARINARA—1000 mg Omega-3 fats (688 mg of DHA, 313 mg of EPA)
Delicious mixed into salads or eggs, and just one sardine will give you 57% of your daily requirement of Vitamin B12 and 46% of Vitamin D (SelfNutritionData.com). A small can of Wild Planet, which I consider a perfect-size serving, has 29 grams of protein packed into 150 calories with a whopping 1000mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Covered in a yummy sauce and no heads or tails, an important feature for some of you!