Good Skin Health and Balanced Nutrition: Almond Crusted Baked Cod Recipe


Almond Crusted Baked Cod Recipe 

When it comes to ambitious diets, as in those ones where we start the day as we mean to go on, we often find those good intentions don’t quite make it through to the evening meal. We might all agree that at the end of those long busy days we want something tasty and fulfilling. Here’s a recipe that is both nutritionally balanced, good for your skin and appealing to your taste buds. 

This dish mirrors the Mediterranean diet by balancing macro nutrients from a variety of sources that provide an array of essential fatty acids, phytonutrients and fibre. They are designed to release energy slowly and make sure colourful vegetables and herbs make up a good proportion of your evening meal. We will run more of these recipes and each will contain two or more food groups that provide skin protecting nutrient properties. 

This week we’re combining vitamin and mineral rich peas, beetroot and sweet potatoes with a lean source of protein from cod. 

Green garden peas have an impressive nutrient profile. They contain just about every vitamin and mineral you need, in addition to a significant amount of fibre. The average 170g serving of peas provides you with roughly 34% of your recommended vitamin A, 24% of your vitamin K, 15% of vitamin B1 and 13% of your vitamin C. They are also high in those important minerals; phosphorus, manganese and iron, as well as providing polyphenols and antioxidants. That’s quite impressive considering their high protein content which helps ensure you absorb them all sufficiently and slowly. All of these nutrients combined are what makes the simple, yet widely available garden pea amazing for skin healthy boosting recipes. These nutrients combined support the uptake and bioavailability of one and other, all in one food type (1).

Beets are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.  However, an additional benefit for beetroot is the high concentrate of inorganic nitrates they provide. The inorganic nitrates increase the levels of nitric oxide, which in turn improves blood flow and vasodilation (2). This supports the flow of oxygenated blood to your skin, giving your complexion an instant glow, whilst also ensuring all layers of the dermis receive sufficient nutrients and energy for their cellular functions (3). 

Sweet potato is a good source of vitamin A and biotin. As mentioned in our skin and nutrient table, beta-carotene is pro vitamin A which supports the skins healing as well as biotin forming the basis for skin cells, nails & hair and necessary to build healthy fats in the skin. So, thanks to its bright orange colour, you can enjoy sweet potato knowing you are doing good by your complexion. 

Overall this recipe provides a good balance of macronutrients. Cod is a lean source of complete protein and the small amount of ‘good’ fats within the olive oil and almonds, combined with slow releasing carbohydrates provided by the sweet potatoes and peas will keep you feeling satisfied till breakfast. Not forgetting all 3 key food groups contain vitamin C, that key nutrient for supporting your collagen production while you sleep (4).



Almond crusted baked cod with pea puree and a side of roasted beetroot and sweet potatoes. 




INGREDIENTS
Serves 1

220g piece of skinless cod fillet
1 tsp Dijon mustard
25g flaked almonds
15g parmesan, finely gratedSmall bunch of parsley, chopped
Pinch of chilli flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp olive oil
125g peas
Handful of fresh mint leaves or tsp of mint sauce
1 fresh raw beetroot or roughly 125g of pre-cooked beetroot (not pickled)
1 sweet potato
Drizzle of honey or sweet chilli sauce

METHOD
Start with the roasting the beetroots and sweet potatoes as these take less prep but longer to cook. 

Instructions for the roasted beetroot and sweet potato 

1
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
For a speedy easier dish, we recommend using pre-cooked beetroot (non-pickled).
If you are using fresh raw beetroot, cover the beetroot with foil and place in the oven until tender, approximately 1-1 1/2 hours. Allow to cool, then peel with a small knife while still slightly warm.
Cut into large cubes.

2
Meanwhile, dice the sweet potato into cubes the same size as the beetroot. Lightly season with salt and coat with olive oil. Place on a baking tray and into the oven until tender, approximately 25-30 minutes.

3
Heat a pan over a medium to high heat. Add the butter and once it begins to foam add the roast beetroot and sweet potato. As soon as the vegetables are heated through, season with salt and remove the pan from the heat. Serve immediately

Instructions for the almond crusted baked cod and pea puree


1
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.  

2
Lay the cod on top, season with salt and pepper then brush the top of the fish with the mustard. 

3
Put the almonds, parmesan, parsley, chilli flakes and lemon zest into a small food processor and pulse to a rough crumb; alternatively, pile everything onto a board and chop finely. 

4
Spoon the mixture on top of the fish, pressing down lightly to form an even crust. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes until the fish is cooked through. 

5
Boil or steam the peas until hot but not overcooked. Whizz in a blender or food processor; alternatively, you can mash with a potato masher till roughly mushed together. Add fresh mint (with a food processor) or mint sauce. Add sweet chilli sauce or a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. 

6
To serve place cod on top of pea puree, add a squeeze in the lemon juice and season to taste. Serve with roast beets and potatoes on the side.

Alternative ingredients

To make this nut-free, swap the flaked almonds for seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower) to make a seed, lemon and herb crust.

To make this dairy free take out the parmesan and swap the butter for vegetable oil or vegan spread.
If you are not a fan of fish, swap the cod for chicken or tofu. 





References
(1)    Schagen, S., Zampeli, V., Makrantonaki, E. and Zouboulis, C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology, [online] 4(3), pp.298-307. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/ [Accessed 22 Aug. 2019].
(2)    Kelm, M. (1999). Nitric oxide metabolism and breakdown. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics, 1411(2-3), pp.273-289.
(3)    Siervo, M., Lara, J., Ogbonmwan, I. and Mathers, J. (2013). Inorganic Nitrate and Beetroot Juice Supplementation Reduces Blood Pressure in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Nutrition, [online] 143(6), pp.818-826. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/143/6/818/4571708 [Accessed 22 Aug. 2019].
(4)    Pullmar, J., Carr, A. and Vissers, M. (2017). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients, [online] 9(8), p.866. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28805671 [Accessed 1 Aug. 2019].

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