Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spicy Tomato Poached Fish with Veggies

Plate of Spicy Fish with Veggies
Spicy Fish With Veggies

Recipe by Robin

According to WebMD, three ways to lose weight are to eat protein at every meal, spice food up so it’s more satisfying, and eat more veggies. This recipe incorporates all three. Many of us are ready to eat lighter fare after the holidays, so I thought this recipe would be perfect for January. Bonus: it's easy to make.

Originally I came up with this idea to use up the spicy homemade tomato juice that our CSA supplies to us in winter (made in summer with their tomatoes). While I have used two summer veggies, zucchini and bell pepper, this recipe still seems wintery because it’s a hot and spicy fish stew that’s warming on cold days.

Tomato Juice, Bell Pepper, Leek, Zucchini, Herbs
Red and Green Ingredients
And of the summer veggies, zucchini and bell pepper are available in winter, and taste nearly as good as in summertime, unlike tomatoes and eggplant. You can eat this on its own as a stew/soup, or ladle it over some cooked spaghetti squash or thin wholegrain pasta.

Any sustainable white fish is good in this recipe. Tilapia is a good choice, and farmed tilapia is fine as long as it’s from North, Central, or South America, where tilapia farms do not impinge on the surrounding environment, but avoid tilapia farmed in China. Black sea bass, some cod varieties, and certain flounder are sustainable choices. Browse the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website for up-to-date information on which other fish can be eaten sustainably.

A bunch of green onions can be substituted for the leeks, and total quantity of leeks or onions can be up to 1½ cups. In a pinch, you can substitute finely chopped yellow onion or shallot. You can spice your own juice, if you have only regular tomato juice on hand, or prefer it a bit less spicy. Add spiciness to your taste with cayenne or other ground red pepper. I use ¼ tsp. of cayenne, but you might like just a few dashes, or 3/8 tsp. or more for extra-fiery.

Frying Pan with Fish Dish Topped with Chopped Basil
Summer Variation: Add up to 1 cup Fresh Basil when Finished
Spicy Tomato-Poached Fish and Veggies
serves 4 - 6

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 – 2 leeks, sliced
1 small green bell pepper
3 – 4 small zucchini
2 cups spicy tomato juice
salt and pepper
1½ lbs. thick white fish fillets
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or other green herb (optional)

Use a large frying pan with lid or preferably an electric frying pan.

Cut leeks in half lengthwise and clean thoroughly. Make thin slices from each half-section.  Chop bell pepper. Slice zucchini thinly.

Sauté leeks and bell pepper in oil in a nonstick pan 5 minutes. Add zucchini and sauté 5 more minutes, stirring frequently to cook evenly.

Add tomato juice and dried herbs plus salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil and simmer 7 - 10 minutes, till zucchini is fairly tender.

Slide veggies to the sides of pan. Submerge fish fillets in tomato juice and sprinkle with parsley if using. Top with the cooked veggies. Cover pan and simmer about 7 more minutes (less if using thin fillets), until the fish is cooked.

Serve with a shaker of cayenne pepper, just in case someone wants some extra heat.

Frying pan with onions and Zucchini, herbs and tomato juice in foreground
Summer Ingredients: Add Basil, Reduce other Herbs to 1/4 tsp. each

Fish Put into Pan, Waiting to be Covered with Veggies
Move Veggies to Side, Put in Fish, Cover Fish with Veggies
Frying Pan with Fish Dish Topped with Chopped Basil
Top with Fresh Herbs, and Voila! Deliciousness!

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