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Fresh fish dinners to refuel the smart way

Start experimenting in the kitchen. Fish is a smart go-to protein source for runners. It will replenish muscles but is also a lean choice for keeping the body trim.

Feed Zone Table by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim
Photo: Jeff Nelson

Eating the right way doesn’t have to be so difficult. Take a step back from the overly analytical approach which many endurance athletes get sucked into. Cooking can be really easy and sharing a meal with others can improve performance over time. Allen Lim, endurance athlete, coach, author, sports physiologist and founder of Skratch Labs teamed up with chef Biju Thomas to create a cook book based on this idea.

Start experimenting in the kitchen. Fish is a smart go-to protein source for runners. It will replenish muscles but is also a lean choice for keeping the body trim. We came up with a couple healthy dinner ideas.

The below fish recipes come from their book Feed Zone Table. They are being republished with permission of Velo Press. Try more recipes at www.feedzonecookbook.com.

Allen Lim talks a new approach to athlete eating and why you’ve been approaching your diet the wrong way.


Serves 4

Photo: Aaron Colussi


1 pound salmon steaks (4 pieces)
4 ciabatta rolls or 1 large baguette
2 cups bitter greens such as arugula
half of an English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
Juice from half of a lemon
½ teaspoon coarse salt

Mustard Dressing:

½ cup thick Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons coarse ground mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
juice from half of a lemon
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper


Brush the salmon steaks with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place steaks skin-side down in a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook for about five minutes, then gently flip and cook for another four to five minutes. The salmon should have good golden brown color on the outside and be cooked to medium.

While the salmon is cooking, slice your ciabatta rolls or baguette and warm them under the broiler. Combine arugula, cucumbers, and onion in a bowl. Dress with the lemon juice and and salt.

To make the mustard dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients together until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste. Generously spread the dressing on the bread and assemble the sandwiches with the salmon steaks and arugula salad. Serve immediately.

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Serves 6

Photo: Jeff Nelson

The cod works best when cooked under the broiler with the heat blasting down. You can also prepare it in a pan on the stove top or on a grill. Cod is a delicate fish—in fact, as it cooks you will see the layers begin to separate a bit. For this reason, avoid flipping during the cooking time. Keep in mind the side you want to present, and make sure to cook that side up. This creamy risotto pairs beautifully with the fish.


6 thick pieces of cod or any other white fish (about 3 pounds)
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
coarse salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lemon zest
juice from 1 lemon

Sweet Pea Risotto:
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter, plus additional to taste
2 cups arborio or risotto rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Zest from half a lemon
Coarse salt and pepper to taste


Place the fish in an oven-safe baking dish with some space between each piece. Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Brush the fish generously with the marinade, cover, and refrigerate while you prepare the risotto. (If you have the time, you can let it marinate overnight.)

To make the risotto: In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer. This will speed up the cook time. Warm the olive oil or butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the rice and garlic and gently toast, taking care not to let it smoke or burn. The rice will become translucent as it soaks up the oil or butter. As it begins to brown, add the white wine, stirring continually until the liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat to medium-low and add two cups of warm stock, stirring periodically until fully absorbed, about 10–15 minutes. Then add another two cups of stock and let the mixture cook down again, approximately another 10 minutes. The risotto will thicken as the stock is absorbed. Add the remaining stock and stir until you have a creamy risotto. The risotto will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so use a bit more stock than you think you need. Add in the peas, Parmesan, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional olive oil or butter, if desired. Remove from heat and keep covered until ready to serve.

Cook the cod: Heat the broiler to high. Place the cod under the broiler for about 8–10 minutes, or until the marinade takes on a light char and the cod begins to flake. Let the fish rest for about a minute and serve with risotto while still warm.

Change it up: You can also use one cup leftover salty meats like prosciutto to make a more savory risotto. Pair with a hearty vegetable such as asparagus or broccoli florets. Add blanched vegetables and meat in place of peas and lemon zest.

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