By Lia Jonsson
Part of the art of eating well, to my mind, is found in ease of preparation. If one doesn’t have to think much or work hard, eating well simply becomes habit. I’m the first to admit that when planning and preparing meals becomes a chore, I’d rather order take out or settle for cereal and milk or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Occasionally, that can be a treat! But, good food is always a treat, and eating well can be fun.
When it’s just as quick, and exceedingly simple, to enjoy a dinner of fish, seasonal vegetables, wild rice and fresh salsa – well, I think that’s a winner hands down.
Pick sustainable fish, or catch your own, and experiment with ways to prepare it. Fish should be prepared simply – try grilling, poaching or broiling – or wrap it in a foil pack!
Foil pack fish and Quick Vegetables
This is a dinner that can be ready in 30 minutes. There’s nothing fancy about it; but, you and your family will love it, and it’s endlessly adaptable – feed a crowd or prepare it for dinner alone with a favorite television program.
Simply drizzle a little olive oil over the fish; season with salt, pepper and a little paprika. Add some green onion and garlic cloves for flavor, if you wish.
Seal the foil securely and pop in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
At the same time, prepare another foil pack with vegetables. I spray the foil with either olive oil or butter-flavored spray, and drizzle some olive oil over the top, along with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. Use any vegetables you like: Potatoes, broccoli, squash, onions, carrots, parsnips, green beans, asparagus, sugar snap peas, corn sliced off the cob. Select your favorites or choose two or three based on color or availability. Or, use up your leftovers.
Adjust the oven time based on the kinds of vegetables – carrots and potatoes will require more time than asparagus, yellow squash or peas. Also, smaller vegetable pieces will cook faster than large ones.
You can serve the fish and vegetables alone, or make wild rice or another grain to go with it. It’s a fast, fresh and flavorful dinner either way.
As an added treat, serve the fish with a freshly-made salsa. Here are some favorites:
Tomato/Onion Salsa with Cilantro
Halve a batch of cherry tomatoes and combine with finely chopped onion and cilantro. Add the juice of a medium lime, season with salt and minced garlic and chill to let the flavors meld.
Combine one peeled and diced mango with one diced red bell pepper and 1/2 of a diced red onion. Add the juice of a lime, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar. You can “personalize” this salsa in a number of ways: Add some diced avocado, a cup of drained and rinsed black beans, or a can of chopped green chiles. Or, if you like a bit of a bite, add some chopped fresh jalapeno for more zip.
A third salsa choice is smoother, milder and lends a totally different flavor to the fish. You can also use this one as a dip – try it with crisp corn chips as a low-calorie snack for a fall football game.
2 cups finely chopped, seeded, peeled cucumber, 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomatoes, 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion. Follow the recipe here, courtesy of Just a Pinch, and you’ll be delighted with the results. The sour cream and the addition of cumin add an interesting flavor that complements fish very nicely.
Remember that Tilapia is just one of the choices you have for fish – experiment with Pacific halibut or cod, fresh trout or sole and grouper. Learn more about the varieties of fish to purchase or avoid, as rated by Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The listings are updated regularly, usually on a monthly basis. This month, 21 species were removed from the avoidance lists because of changes in the harvesting methods or the supplies.