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Cooking with Heart in Mind


By Melanie Peters   |   March 06, 2018

​Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It’s estimated that 735,000 Americans experience a heart attack each year and 1 in 4 deaths are the result of heart disease. The good news is that you can fight heart disease with a healthy diet and, at UC San Diego Health, we’ve expanded our cardiovascular services to help those trying to do just that.

The newly opened Step Family Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Wellness Center at Jacobs Medical Center features a teaching kitchen where, by physician referral, patients can attend cooking classes led by registered dietitians. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays and one-on-one consultations with a cardiac rehab dietitian are also available. The program is the only one in San Diego County certified as a Dr. Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease®. Recipes in the teaching kitchen showcase dishes that contain healthy fats, such as olive oil; lean proteins like cold-water fish, and are either low- or no-salt.

UC San Diego Health is also part of the Nutrition in Healthcare Leadership Team, a collaborative of San Diego County health care systems dedicated to advancing healthful, sustainable food practices — which means all ingredients for the teaching kitchen are locally sourced.

To celebrate spring, we teamed up with Alexandra Salcedo, RD, to demonstrate that cooking healthy doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, as this recipe for steam-grilled cod with chanterelle mushroom and carrots demonstrates, it can be easy, stunning and stunningly easy! Steaming the fish before grilling keeps the fat content low, while using fresh herbs to season and garnish does the same with the salt content — just a dash of smoked sea salt and a sprinkle of parsley and spring onions is all it takes to make these flavors pop.

Steam-Grilled Cod with Grilled Chanterelle Mushrooms and Carrots

  • 4 6 oz. black cod fillets (skin on, optional)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup water
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 16 oz. chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 10 to 12 spring carrots or 6 medium carrots, cut into thirds or pieces large enough to grill. If you prefer carrots to be less al dente, blanch them first
  • 10 sprigs Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pepper and smoked sea salt
  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced, green parts only
  • Optional garnish: Marigold florets and popcorn shoots
  • 1 medium skillet with lid
  • Preheat grill to medium heat
  • Coat carrots with 1 tbsp. of olive oil and season with pepper
  • Once grill is hot, place carrots on grill and grill for 2 to 3 minutes, turning at least once
  • When carrots are halfway done, add the mushrooms and grill for 1 ½ minutes or until you see grill marks
  • Remove carrots and mushrooms and set aside
  • Coat cod fillets with 1 tbsp. of olive oil and season with pepper
  • Place filets in pan, add white wine, water and sprig of Rosemary
  • Cover and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes
  • Once steamed, place the cod filets on the grill in opposite direction of grill slats (if skin on, then skin side down)
  • The cod might stick at first but will release after a minute or two; turn the fish at least once to get desired grill marks
  • To plate, divide carrots among four plates, top with fish filet, add mushrooms and sprinkle all with a pinch of smoked sea salt. Garnish with lemon zest, spring onions, parsley, marigold florets and popcorn shoots

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