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Nutritionally Speaking

Quick Entrees for Calorie Counters in Lenten Season

February 16, 1989|TONI TIPTON

The Lenten season is the perfect time to enjoy the light and refreshing flavor of fish. And because of their low-fat content, fish fillets are a perfect protein source for dieters. It is virtually impossible to go wrong when fish is the centerpiece of a meal--unless it is deep-fat fried or smothered in a rich butter-cream sauce.

Of course, some fish are fattier than others. Compare 3 1/2-ounce servings of cod, sole, haddock, rockfish, sea bass and whiting, which all are under 90 calories and have 1% or less fat, to high-fat species such as butterfish, mackerel and sablefish, which have more than 150 calories and contain from 5% to 15% fat. (The fattier varieties are still suitable as alternatives to meat, but may not be an option for some.) Medium-fat fish include tuna, halibut, red snapper and swordfish.

The following recipes combine the fish of choice with naturally low-calorie vegetables and fresh herbs and spices. The dishes are prepared with a minimum of fat and avoid the cream-based sauces that cause calories to skyrocket. Best of all, they can be prepared in about 30 minutes.


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, crushed

1 medium bay leaf

1 cup low-sodium tomato juice

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up

6 (4-ounce) flounder fillets

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes, garlic, oregano and bay leaf and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato juice, vinegar and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes or until thickened. Discard bay leaf. Stir in horseradish and butter.

Meanwhile, arrange flounder in another 10-inch skillet. Cover with boiling water. Simmer 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork. Thin sauce with cooking liquid from fish to desired consistency. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 servings.


1 pound cod fillets, 1-inch thick

Salt, pepper

1 leek, white part only

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 small onion, sliced

2/3 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Season cod to taste with salt and pepper. Cut leek in half lengthwise and slice thinly into half circles.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter and saute mushrooms, onion and leek until tender. Spoon vegetables into au gratin dish. Top with seasoned cod. Pour wine over cod. Cover and bake at 450 degrees 20 minutes.

Uncover, brush with remaining tablespoon butter and sprinkle with parsley. Makes 2 servings.


5 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon snipped parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon celery seeds

1 pound sole or flounder fillets

Place butter in rectangular baking dish or 10-inch square casserole. Microwave on HIGH (100%) until melted. Blend in flour, lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper and celery seeds. Coat both sides of fish fillets with sauce. Arrange in baking dish and cover with wax paper. Microwave on HIGH (100%) until fish flakes easily when tested in center with fork, about 5 to 6 minutes. Makes 4 servings.


4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into fine julienne strips

1/2 jicama, peeled, cut into fine julienne strips

4 green onions, sliced

1/4 cup butter or margarine

Salt, pepper

6 sole or cod fillets

3/4 cup salsa

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 avocado, peeled and cut into 6 wedges

1 bunch cilantro

Jalapeno chiles

Lime slices

Saute carrots, jicama and onions in butter until tender-crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place vegetables in casserole and top with fish. Pour salsa and wine over all, then place avocado wedge and cilantro sprig on side of each fish fillet. Bake at 450 degrees about 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested in center with fork. Garnish with chiles and lime slices. Makes 6 servings.


1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 1/4 cups chopped tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt, pepper

4 (1/2-pound) snapper fillets


2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon oil

Scatter cumin seeds in small dry skillet. Over high heat, toast seeds 1 to 3 minutes, or until they begin to turn brown and smoke lightly. Add tomatoes, garlic, red pepper and vinegar. Simmer 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Stir in parsley, remove from heat and set aside.

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dust with flour. Heat butter and oil in another skillet over high heat. Saute fish, turning only once, until lightly browned on both sides. Immediately coat with sauce and serve. Pass remaining sauce. Makes 4 servings.

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