Recipe: A Seafood Dish From Triathlete/Chef Jim Sullivan

Personal chef Jim Sullivan loves this salmon dish for its flavor profile, healthy ingredients and its simplicity.

Photo: Nils Nilsen

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Chile Lime Sockeye Salmon Over Quinoa and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Personal chef Jim Sullivan loves this salmon dish for its flavor profile, healthy ingredients and its simplicity: “That’s how I like to cook when I cook at home,” he says. “Whether it’s home or clients, I like to make it simple.” 

2 6 oz filets sockeye salmon
½ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp chili powder
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 pound heirloom tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup white wine
1 T red wine vinegar
½ T capers
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
½ cup quinoa
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup shaved almonds
½ cup golden raisins
Salt and pepper to taste

Coat salmon with brown sugar and chili powder before adding lime juice and zest. Cover and refrigerate for an hour while prepping side dishes. Combine tomatoes, garlic, shallot, wine, vinegar, capers, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Toss, cover and refrigerate. Cook quinoa on stovetop or in rice cooker according to directions, replacing 1 cup of water with chicken stock. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray sauté pan lightly with olive oil and heat on stovetop. Sauté salmon filets skin-side down for 1 minute or until skin is crisp. Set pan in oven for 7–8 minutes. Remove salmon and place on serving dish. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. After quinoa is cooked, add almonds, raisins, salt and pepper, and toss. Serve filet with the quinoa and the tomato salad.

Meet the Triathlete-Chef
Originally from New England, Jim Sullivan works full-time as a clinical pharmacist in an intensive care unit at a San Diego hospital. He started racing triathlon about eight years ago and was inspired to become a chef partly because of it. “I actually like training more than racing,” he says. “I like the lifestyle, as far as training and eating healthy.”

To combine his background in the health field and his training with his love of cooking and healthy eating, he went to culinary school at The Art Institute in San Diego four years ago. He then started a personal chef business called Healthy Eats, which he runs in addition to still working as a clinical pharmacist. At his busiest, he works 20 hours a week as a chef, which includes menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking for clients. Sullivan describes his culinary style as using “simple ingredients to make flavorful yet healthy cuisine.”

Recently, he’s cut back on his hours as a chef because he’s a new dad, training for a few half-Ironmans this season and trying to get board-certified in critical care. So how does he balance it all? “Time management skills and lack of sleep,” he says, laughing. But he wouldn’t trade in the triathlon training part of it: “I like the challenge. I try to do different types of races, whether it’s Olympic, half-Ironman or Xterra,” he says. “I do races because it gives me motivation—it gives me something to strive for.”

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