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Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Fish – fast and fabulous

Tags: Food
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We all know that we should be eating more fish. It’s a lean protein, full of heart- and brain-healthy omega 3s and easy to digest. Also on the upside, fish is one of the easiest things to cook, if you follow a few guidelines.

All fish is naturally tender, so regardless of the type, it will cook in about 10 to 15 minutes, making it a fantastic weeknight option. There’s no need to marinate it to make it tastier or to engage in a long slow cook to tenderize it. Basically, all fish cooks in the same amount of time, regardless of the cooking method.  A good rule of thumb is to start testing it for doneness after 8 to 10 minutes per inch, always measured at the thickest width, not length. This applies whether you’re poaching it, baking it or grilling it. That said, it’s important to not overdo fish or it will dry out.

The other wonderful thing about fish is that it’s so versatile. There are so many types to choose from that you’d be hard pressed to find yourself getting bored with fish. Even if you consume fish only once or twice a week, and regardless of what the recipe calls for, try to buy the freshest fish you can. If only frozen filets are available, thaw them in your fridge overnight and never at room temperature. The choices I have suggested in the recipes below are just that, recommendations only. Feel free to substitute your favourite variety.

 

 

GRILLED HALIBUT WITH SUGAR SNAP PEA AND LEMON MEDLEY

 

This fish is an all-season treat. Fresh herbs are available everywhere now and liven up this colourful topping. Halibut is a meaty fish and a bit on the expensive side, so this is a treat to be enjoyed once in a while. Having said that, it’s super easy to put together and as delicious as they come.

 

2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 8 oz.)

3 green onions, thinly sliced

2/3 cup finely shaved or sliced fresh fennel

1/2 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest

5 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. each chopped fresh parsley and chives

1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

2 tsp. honey

1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper

halibut filets

 

Preheat the oven to 400. In a pot of lightly salted boiling water, blanch snow peas for 1 to 2 minutes or until bright green. Drain. Immediately rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain again. Cut in half on the diagonal and transfer to serving bowl. Stir in green onions, fennel, sun dried tomatoes and lemon zest.

Place fish filets on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, chives, tarragon, honey and salt and pepper. Brush each filet with 1 tbsp. of the mixture. Roast in the centre of the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, or until the fish flakes easily.

Meanwhile, toss together the remaining lemon/oil mixture with the sugar snap pea mixture. Transfer filets to plates and top with snow pea medley. Makes 4 servings.

 

 

THAI FISH CURRY

 

If you want to serve this as individual servings, then buy four filets. However, it’s just as easy to make it a curry “stew” by using a meaty fish such as snapper and cutting the fish into large chunks before you poach it. This is excellent over Basmati or Thai Jasmine rice to help soak up the delicious sauce.

 

2 tbsp. canola oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger

1/2 tsp. each hot chili flakes, ground coriander and ground cumin (or 2 tsp. Thai hot chili paste)

1/2 cup each diced sweet red pepper and carrots

3 cups sliced mushrooms

1 tbsp. each finely grated lemon and lime zest

1 cup light or regular coconut milk

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper

4 fish filets (such as cod, salmon or red snapper)

3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

 

In a large shallow saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, chili flakes, coriander and cumin; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add red pepper and carrots and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until all excess liquid has evaporated. Stir in lemon and lime zest, coconut milk, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to break up the tomato paste.

Nestle fish in liquid. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 8 to 11 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until the fish flakes easily. Remove fish to a serving platter and keep warm.

Boil remaining liquid for 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in green onions and coriander. Pour over fish and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

 

 

OVEN-ROASTED FISH WITH ­WASABI, LIME AND GINGER SAUCE

 

 

This Asian-inspired recipe takes only minutes to prepare. The lime juice blends splendidly with the soy, ginger and coriander, while the wasabi powder adds a little kick. If you’re not a fan of heat, feel free to leave it out. The addition of mayonnaise allows the sauce to nap  the fish without ending up all over your plate.

 

4 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander

1 tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 tsp. wasabi powder

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 sole filets (sea bass or snapper can be used)

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

 

 

Preheat the oven to 400. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, soy sauce, fresh coriander, ginger, garlic, wasabi powder and pepper.

Lay the four fish filets on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Brush 3 tbsp. of the lime juice mixture over the filets. Roast in the centre of the preheated oven for about 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, or until the fish flakes easily.

Meanwhile, whisk the mayonnaise into the remaining lime juice mixture.

Transfer fish to serving plates and drizzle with lime juice/mayonnaise mixture. Makes 4 servings.

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