Welcome to the last entry of our “Brain Foods” series, where we’ve collaborated with 10 talented chefs to bring you recipes using ingredients that may help boost your brain function. What does your diet have to do with your brain, you might wonder? Think of the last time you ate a meal high in saturated fats or carbohydrates. You probably felt really tired — like food coma status — afterward, right? Well the opposite is true, as well! Certain foods actually may help you to feel sharper, more focused and ready to take on the day! Now doesn’t that sound much better?

Chef Abby Therrien of Grand Rapids, Mich., farm-to-table restaurant Terra has prepared a salmon recipe that is delicious, good for your cranium and 100% foodie-approved. Something smells fishy around here.. but in the best way possible!

ABOUT THE BRAIN FOODS

Salmon

Salmon is a fantastic source of protein, which is vital for the production of mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Salmon also is chock full of omega-3 acids, which are anti-inflammatories. Chronic brain inflammation can contribute to ADHD, depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. So by eating more salmon, you’ll be helping to ward off all of those things

Blueberries

According to clinical research, blueberries may improve memory performance. You can thank a compound called anthocynanins for that. They are also rich in other antioxidants which may help prevent brain diseases. To top it off, these compounds also protect our brains from degeneration and stress.

Kale

This nutrient-rich veggie deserves all the praise it receives from foodies! It contains 45 different types of flavonoids that may reduce the risk of stroke, as well as omega-3 fatty acids which are important for brain performance, memory and behavioral function. So the next time someone disses you for enjoying leafy greens, don’t let them kale your vibe.

Farro

Farro is often utilized in Mediterranean, Ethiopian and Middle Eastern cuisines. In Western food trends, however, other grains like quinoa and barley typically outshine it. We feel farro deserves much more attention in our culinary exploits! This high-fiber food not only tastes great, but it also contains plenty of B vitamins that promote brain health, help maintain energy levels and help with neurotransmitter function.

RECIPE:

Pan-seared Salmon with Charred Farro Kale, Warm Blueberry Vinaigrette, and Toasted Pepitas

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 fillets of salmon
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 c. cooked farro
  • 1 c. kale (cleaned and blanched)
  • 2 tbsp. toasted pepitas
  • Salt & pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 c. blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  3. In sauté pan, heat olive oil and add salmon skin side down and sear until golden brown. Then, flip and place in a 400-degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
  4. While the salmon is cooking, add the vinaigrette ingredients to a small saucepot. Cook on medium-low heat until the blueberries start to break down. Season with salt and pepper set aside.
  5. Using another sauté pan, heat the pan to its smoking point. When the pan is very hot, do not oil the pan. When the pan is hot, add your cooked farro. you want the pan to be very hot so you get some color on the farro. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, moving the harro around in the pan so it doesn’t burn. Doing this will add a very nutty flavor to the farro. When the farro looks charred enough to your liking, season it with salt and pepper, and add the cooked kale to the farro. Place the farro and kale mixture on a plate.
  6. Pull the salmon out of the oven. You will want an internal temperature of at least 125 degrees. Place the salmon on top of the farro-kale mixture. Spoon the blueberry pan vinaigrette onto the salmon, and top with toasted pepitas. ENJOY!

ABOUT THE CHEF

Terra is best known for its handcrafted food that is both good for the body, by using the freshest, healthiest ingredients; and good for the community, by supporting local growers. Chef Abby Therrien is clearly the perfect fit for Terra, with her degree in culinary nutrition and her easy, laid-back approach to cooking that she likes to call, “Honest food.”

“I don’t like to put a lot of extra things on my dishes that make it more complicated. Simplicity is important because you stay true what the food you are preparing actually is,” she said. “The integrity and flavors of the food are more important to me.”

When Abby isn’t busy with her culinary duties at Terra, she enjoys watching crime dramas like “CSI” and “Law & Order” and gardening flowers and herbs.

BONUS ROUND

Why did you choose those particular brain food ingredients?

“I actually have a degree in culinary nutrition, so I wanted to do something that would be nutritious and also high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. I chose salmon, which is high in omegas, and then farro and blueberries, which are high in antioxidants.”

Were you always into food, even as a kid?

“Yes! I was the kid that would experiment making food with my friends. I would like trying things like lobster at a restaurant; and when someone would offer to share with me, I would say, “No, I want my own!”

Are you a breakfast, lunch, or dinner person?

“Dinner because I like savory food better. And I think my brain is more alive in the evening; I enjoying eating more then.”

FUN FACT!

Abby once worked with Mario Batali. “He was down-to-earth and joked around a lot,” she said. They went to a dive bar one night, and a guy tried to dance with her. Mario saved her and danced with her instead.

What was the last thing you cooked for yourself?

“Curried butternut squash with quinoa and shrimp.”

What’s your favorite food-related movie?

Big Night” and “Chocolat

Guilty pleasure?

“Chocolate. I don’t eat it much, but when I do, I really love it.”

What would your last meal on earth be?

“Cheese”

Submit your name for Chef Abby Therrien’s Brain Food Recipe!

Enter a creative name for this dish in the form below and you could win a $50 gift card to Trader Joe’s!

The entry period has ended and the winning recipe name is: Simply Bright Brained

Want more recipes that will boost your brain and make your tummy smile?

Curious to know how you can have a healthier brain outside of eating these brain foods? Visit Click Here.

Neurocore makes no claims that it can cure any conditions, including any conditions referenced on its website or in print materials, including ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines, headaches, stress, sleep disorders, Alzheimer’s and dementia.  If you take prescription medications for any of these conditions, you should consult with your doctor before discontinuing use of such medications.