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A Focus on Fish

Original post made by Jacqui Love Marshall, San Ramon, on May 23, 2011

I've been trying to eat more fish these days, trying to cultivate the same culinary and eating desires for fish as I have for meat and poultry. Even prior to my vegetarian years, I didn't eat much fish. All too often, cooked fish seems to be over or under cooked and fish entrees usually do not leave me as satisfied as a juicy chicken thigh or a tender piece of prime rib. However, for health and weight reasons, I know I should eat more fish from reliable sources.

I was advised to try under-cooking the fish a bit, on the assumption (like steak) that the fish would continue cooking until served. Marinating also helps maintain the flavor and juiciness. Last week, I made two fish dishes that I would definitely make again. Both left me taste satisfied and, actually, wanting more.

The first recipe is simple and very easy to make, within 30 min. if you are efficient.

Salmon-Rice Bowl (serves 2)

1 cup medium-grain white rice

1/2 lb. wild salmon fillets, skinned and cut into 2 pieces (I used 2 pre-cut and measured salmon pieces from Whole Foods)

1/2 cup peeled, halved and sliced English cucumber

1/2 cup cubed avocado

1/2 sheet nori, torn into bite-sized pieces

1 green onion, sliced on the diagonal

1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (I used Tamari)

1 Tbsp wasabi powder

1/2 toasted sesame oil

Salt and pepper

1. Cook the rice according to directions. Preheat broiler.

2. Sprinkle the salmon pieces on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Broil pieces until done to your liking, ~6 min. for medium.

3. Whole the rice and salmon are cooking, mix the soy sauce, wasabi and oil in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.

4. Divide the rice between 2 large rice or soup bowls. Top with a salmon piece. Garnish each bowl with the avocado, cucumber, nori, scallions and sesame seeds. Serve the wasabi dressing on the side.

The second recipe takes a bit longer to assemble and, although it is a simple recipe, its visual presentation is as pleasant as its flavor.

==B Baked Fish & Potatoes (serves 4-5)==

2 lbs. new or Yukon potatoes, very thinly sliced

8 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 lemons, very thinly sliced

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1 whole 3-lb. turbot, fluke, halibut or 3 1-lb. branzino or sea bass

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Put potatoes in a large bowl; drizzle with 4 Tbsp oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the parchment with 1 Tbsp oil. Layer potatoes slices evenly on the parchment; season again with salt and pepper as desired. (If using smaller fish like the sea bass, par-cook the potatoes for 15 min. or so now.)

4. Arrange half the lemon slices over the potatoes and sprinkle with the parsley. Lay the fish over the lemon and potatoes and rub cavity and skin with salt and pepper. Top fish with the remaining lemon slices and arrange the bay leaves over the fish. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake until the fish is just cooked through (40-60 min., depending on size).

5. Using a butter knife or spatula, flak fish off the bone and serve immediately.

If you decide to cook one or both, please let me know how you liked these dishes.


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