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I recently spent time with the Inuit people on a trip to the wild, and amazingly pristine Alaska. I learned how sacred the land and for that part, the water is to them. Traditional foods consist of what’s right outside their front door – seal, salmon, walrus, cod, reindeer, ducks, moose, tubers and berries like wild blueberries and salmonberries. Since the weather up there doesn’t permit for the sort of agriculture we enjoy in the lower 49 states, their diet is naturally lower in carbohydrates and higher in fats, especially omega – 3 fatty acids.

I learned of something called the “Inuit Paradox” which is a phenomena celebrating high nutrient status among very low levels of phytonutrients from plant-based foods. The Inuit diet is rich in organ meat like liver and brain as well as ample pure unprocessed animal fat. Not only is fat necessary to absorb vitamins but when fat from 100% clean, pure, unadulterated organ meat is consumed, you get a serving of micronutrients and even phytonutrients too!

One way of food preparation which is especially helpful at preserving the delicate omega 3 fats is fermentation. The Inuit people refer to this as “stinkfish” since the fish is buried in the tundra and left to ferment.

While you may not be leaping out of your seat to taste stinkfish, you can still enjoy the key nutritional elements of the Inuit peoples native diet with this dish: an abundance of healthy fats, low carbohydrate intake, sea vegetables, fermented miso and coconut, and wild, pure fish (cod).

Poached Wild Alaskan Cod in Spicy Miso Broth

Serves 4

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom
1 cup scallion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more depending on preference)
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon dulse flakes or kombu
4 (4 – ounce) cod fillets
1/4 cup white miso
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
sea salt to taste

In a Dutch oven or large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium. Sauté the mushrooms and scallions until the mushrooms are softened, about 3 minutes. Add in the garlic, cayenne and coconut aminos and stir to combine. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute, then add in the broth and dulse. Reduce heat to low and let flavors cook together about 5 minutes. Place the cod fillets in the broth, cover with a lid and cook until center is opaque and fish is flaky, about 10 – 12 minutes

Place each fillet in a large soup bowl. Stir the miso and sesame oil into the broth and season with sea salt. Ladle miso broth over each fillet and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Naomi Whittel

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