How to Cook a Perfect Meal

Cedar-plank salmon

Grilling wild salmon on a cedar plank     Photo: woodleywonderworks/Flickr

APPETIZERS
Chilled dungeness crab with homemade cocktail sauce; deviled eggs; prosciutto-wrapped grilled figs

ENTRÉE
Cedar-planked wild salmon; salad of whole-grain pasta and grilled vegetables; spicy greens with fresh cherries, goat cheese, and cherry balsamic vinaigrette

DESSERT
Summer-berry-and-olive-oil polenta cake; grilled peaches

Besides the fact that you're drooling, WHAT'S SO PERFECT ABOUT THIS MENU? It's a balanced recovery feast* that follows the 40-30-30 ratio of carbs to fat to protein prescribed by nutritionists—and is damn delicious, too. "Chefs are concerned most about taste," says Vitaly Paley, owner of Portland, Oregon's award-winning Paley's Place. "This meal is varied enough in flavor to keep the palate always wanting more."

To hit that recovery-ratio sweet spot, Paley teamed with USA Cycling coach and flavor-savvy nutrition nut Michael Manning. "The protein sources are all high-quality," says Manning. "The majority of the fat comes from olive oil, rich in monounsaturates. This reduces cholesterol for a healthy cardio-respiratory system. The salmon is primary source of essential fatty acids, which improve metabolism and work to reduce inflammation. The majority of the carbs are from fresh fruits and vegetables and provide superior nourishment with antioxidants and other phytonutrients, in addition to supplying fiber."

Salivation is at hand.

*2,032 calories; replaces the energy burned by a 155-pound male on a 2.5-hour bike ride at an average of 17 mph. Click here for full recipes.

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