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QUICK FIX

Solo Fishing

June 04, 1997|KATHY GOSNELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When dinner is a solo meal, my thoughts turn to fish. And in spring, fish teams well with citrus fruit.

This meal has few ingredients, all fresh, and takes less than half an hour to prepare. It's light, refreshing and simple.

The fish recipe was adapted from a recipe by Michael Roberts that appeared in the Food section in February 1996. Roberts' recipe--designed for catfish with grapefruit and brined green peppercorns--was wonderful, but it called for 6 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of oil for frying the flour-dredged fillets. In this version, sole is poached in grapefruit juice. Add a grinding of pepper and that's it.

The result is certainly more austere than Roberts' fish, but it has a nicely delicate tang and just 3 grams of fat.

Carry the citrus flavors through to the side dish by squeezing lemon juice--instead of butter or oil--over steamed asparagus.

After the sole and asparagus, finish with three or four strawberries, each about the size of a toddler's fist.

The recipes, designed for one, are easily doubled and tripled and so on.

Menu (30 MINUTES OR LESS)

Sole in Grapefruit Juice

Asparagus in Lemon Juice

Fresh Strawberries

COUNTDOWN

25 minutes before: Wash strawberries and set aside. Start sole marinating in juice from grapefruit half. Peel and slice remaining grapefruit.

10 minutes before: Wash asparagus; remove stems.

6 to 8 minutes before: Steam asparagus and cook sole.

INGREDIENTS

Staples

Lemon

Pepper

Salt

Shopping list

1 (1/3-pound) sole fillet

1 bunch thin asparagus

1 grapefruit

1 pint strawberries

SOLE IN GRAPEFRUIT JUICE LOW -FAT COOKING)

1 grapefruit

1 (1/3-pound) sole fillet

Freshly ground pepper

Cut grapefruit in half and squeeze juice from 1 half into skillet. Arrange fish in skillet and let marinate 10 to 15 minutes. Juice should nearly cover fish.

Peel other grapefruit half, slice fruit and arrange on dinner plate. Set aside.

Grind pepper to taste over fish. Cook gently over low heat, carefully turning once, until fish flakes easily with fork, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately with grapefruit slices.

1 serving. Each serving:

208 calories; 67 mg sodium; 38 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 26 grams protein; 0 fiber.

ASPARAGUS IN LEMON JUICE

8 very thin spears asparagus

1 lemon

Salt

Snap woody ends off asparagus and place spears in vegetable steamer large enough that spears lie flat.

Squeeze juice of half lemon over spears. Salt to taste and cook over gently boiling water until spears droop slightly when picked up in center, about 5 minutes.

Season with juice from remaining lemon half and serve immediately.

1 serving. Each serving:

34 calories; 297 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 7 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 0.96 gram fiber.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Chef's Tips

*Poaching foods in citrus and vegetable juices (carrot works well, for instance) is a good way to reduce butter and oil normally used for sauteing.

*If you aren't worried about cutting calories or cholesterol, finish juice sauces with a tablespoon of butter to give them a richer flavor.

*If you'd rather not add butter to juice sauces but want to add flavor, experiment by adding your favorite herbs and spices to the mix. Another trick: Add a pinch of sugar if the fruit is not at the peak of ripeness.

* Jim McCullough glassware from Blueprint, West Hollywood.

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