Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
Readily available, mild-flavored white fish such as flounder, sole, pollock, tilapia and cod cook quickly and easily. All lend themselves equally well to pan searing, baking and steaming.
TIP While cooking times will vary based on the thickness of the fish, each of these recipes works with any mild-flavored flaky white fish.
POLLOCK WITH TOMATO-OLIVE TOPPING
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 plum tomatoes (12 ounces), chopped
12 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 (6-ounce) pollock fillets
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until somewhat softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the olives, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.
2. Season the fish with the remaining 1/2teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add fish and cook until lightly golden on the undersides, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until no longer translucent in the centers, another 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with the topping. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 213 calories, 27 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1,054 mg sodium
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced scallion
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, olive oil and scallions until the oil is evenly distributed.
3. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Pat the bread crumb mixture evenly over the surfaces and place on the baking sheet pan. Bake until the fish is no longer translucent in the centers, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and coat lightly with cooking spray. Place under the broiler 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 271 calories, 37 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 527 mg sodium
FLOUNDER AND ASPARAGUS IN PACKETS
4 (6-ounce) pieces flounder fillet
4 teaspoons country-style Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
4 teaspoons capers
8 ounces asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup white wine
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Tear 4 (18-inch long) pieces of foil; fold each in half, unfold and coat the top sides with cooking spray.
2. Working one at a time, place a fillet on 1 side of the fold; spread with 1 teaspoon of mustard, sprinkle with one-fourth of the celery seed and capers. Place the asparagus next to the fish and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the wine over everything. Fold the foil packet closed, crimping the edges; place on a baking sheet pan. Repeat with remaining ingredients, using 2 baking pans, if needed.
3. Bake until the packets are tightly puffed, about 15 minutes. Transfer unopened packets to 4 dinner plates. Cut the tops open just before serving. (Note: take care when cutting open the packets because a lot of steam will escape and can burn.) Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 131 calories, 19 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 632 g sodium