fish cakes with zesty citrus sauce make for a light
is a time when less can mean more, especially in the
kitchen. Going without need not be faced with a frown. Let
dietary restrictions spur creativity and boost flavor,
however modest the meal.
for those whose faith traditions permit it, can come to the
rescue during Lent. Lucy Waverman, co-author of "The
Flavour Principle" (Harper Collins, $35), soon to be
published in the United States, and Susanna Hoffman,
co-author of the new "Bold: A Cookbook of Big
Flavors" (Workman, $19.95), have plenty of ideas about
fish and how to punch up both flavor and presentation during
Lent — and year-round.
get stuck with fish. If all they know is to bread and fry
it, that’s all they’ll do," says Waverman, a
Toronto-based author and food columnist for The Globe and
Mail newspaper. "Fish is so easy to cook, there (are)
just a few basic rules."
says the easiest way to cook thicker pieces of fish, like
halibut, Alaskan black cod, salmon or wahoo (ono), is to
place them on an oiled baking sheet and bake in a 450-degree
oven for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. You can alter the
flavor by brushing on various sauces and pastes, she adds,
from a green Thai curry paste to a basil pesto to a barbecue
you can get more sophisticated and use fresh herbs chopped
up and some garlic and brush that on," Waverman says.
"You can turn it into a one-dish meal. Slice some
potatoes and onions, put them in a baking dish and cook for
15 minutes, then put the fish on top and cook."
fish need lower heat for best cooking, she notes, adding
that subtler seasoning accents also seem to work better with
these types of fish.
flavors are often too strong," Waverman says. "But
a pesto, anything herbal, or frying them works well."
Hoffman’s favorite tricks is combining fish in a dish,
such as fresh salmon garnished with smoked salmon and a
watercress cream sauce.
be afraid of cream sauce," she says, adding that it
depends, of course, on whether you can eat dairy products
during Lent. As for cheese, Hoffman says the general rule is
not to use it with fish, but she believes the saltiness of
too, beyond serving just fillets and pieces of fish that
have been baked, grilled or fried. Hoffman says there are
seafood chowders, casseroles, patties and even tacos (there
are lobster tacos in her book) you can experiment with.
in Telluride, Colo., Hoffman prepares a lot of trout. She
prefers to serve it whole and finds the body cavity makes a
wonderful pocket for various stuffings, such as crab with
shaved fennel and arugula. Another favorite trick: wrapping
seafood in nori or grape leaves when cooking.
you do, don’t overcook seafood. Waverman says fish should
look opaque. "A little bit of a shiny center is
fine," she adds.
FISH CAKES WITH ZESTY CITRUS SAUCE
Thai-inspired recipe is adapted from "The Flavour
Principle" by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol. Use
haddock, whiting, cod or any white firm-flesh fish (shrimp
is another option) for these cakes, which may be deep-fried
instead of pan-fried, if desired. The authors use this dish
as a first course to an all-fish, all-Asian dinner menu, but
you could serve it with a watercress salad for a light
4-6 minutes per batch
8 cakes, 4 first-course servings
pound skinless haddock fillets
cup chopped green onions
tablespoons each, chopped: lemon grass, cilantro
tablespoon each: fish sauce, Thai red curry paste
teaspoon grated lime zest
teaspoon lime juice
teaspoon granulated sugar
thinly sliced long beans or green beans
citrus sauce, see recipe
fish into cubes. Place in a food processor or mini-chopper
with green onions, lemon grass, cilantro, cornstarch, fish
sauce, curry paste, lime zest and juice, sugar and egg.
Pulse in short bursts until mixture is a smooth paste. Stir
in long beans. Cover; refrigerate, 1 hour.
Roll mixture into 8 balls, a little more than 1/4 cup per
ball. Press each ball flat to form a cake.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry cakes
in batches until brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Add more oil
to pan as needed. Drain cakes on paper towels.
information per serving: 192 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g
saturated fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 7 g carbohydrates, 20 g
protein, 815 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
oelek chili paste may be found in Asian markets, specialty
stores and some supermarkets.
in a bowl: 1/4 cup water; 2 tablespoons each: chopped fresh
mint, lime juice and lemon juice; 1 tablespoon plus 1
teaspoon brown sugar; 1 tablespoon fish sauce; 1 teaspoon
each: grated lime zest, grated fresh ginger and sambal oelek
chili paste. Let sit for 1 hour before serving.
FILLETS WITH LEEK, KUMQUATS AND SWEET WINE
recipe from "Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors" by
Susanna Hoffman and Victoria Wise. Substitute blood or naval
oranges if you can’t find kumquats or a Seville orange.
whitefish fillets (6 to 8 ounces each), such as halibut or
sea bass, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
tablespoons fresh lemon juice
or fine sea salt
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
medium leek, white and light green parts, cut into
2-inch-long shreds, rinsed, drained
6 to 8
kumquats or 1 Seville orange, thinly sliced
cup sweet muscat wine
tablespoons fresh orange juice
tablespoon chopped fresh chives
ground black pepper
Place the fillets in a baking dish large enough to hold them
in 1 layer; sprinkle them on both sides with the lemon juice
and salt. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to cook,
up to 2 hours.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the
leek and kumquats; cook until barely wilted, 1 minute. Stir
in the wine, orange juice and bay leaf; heat to a boil,
still over medium heat. Cook until the leek and kumquats are
well wilted, 2 minutes. Pour over the fish, spreading the
leeks and kumquats out evenly. Place the baking dish in a
450-degree oven; bake until the liquid is bubbling and the
fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork, about 15
Remove the bay leaf and serve right away, garnished with the
chives and a sprinkle of black pepper.
information per serving: 319 calories, 16 g fat, 2 g
saturated fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 34 g
protein, 96 mg sodium, 2 g fiber