Whether you observe Lent or not, eating fish and seafood are really very good for you. And a benefit, is they cook very quickly...at least most of them. One of the recipes that I developed for my "Quick and Easy" cookbook is a tamale style fish. For the recipe, I used catfish, however any kind of fish could be used. The tamale style comes from the fact that you take fresh corn on the cob still in it's husk. You carefully pull back the husks and cut the corn cob at the end of the corn.
You place the fish inside where the corn cob was and you top the fish with a fresh corn mixture and bake covered for 12 to 15 minutes--a real quick and easy and very special looking dish. Recipe follows.
Another favorite is Pan Seared Tuna Steaks on Spinach al la Baja. Believe it or not, spinach is real "go-to" with fish. A favorite nearby restaurant features a Chilean Sea Bass served over spinach and cherry tomatoes with a sauce very similar to this recipe. I have often wondered if the chef peaked at my cookbook.
I have had quite a few of you say that you wished I offered the "Perfect Pies" class again. Please let me know if you are interested and I can create another class this month or next. The last class was a sell out and lots of fun and oh what perfectly tasty were the 5 pies.
Here are the two quick and easy fish favorite recipes--
Catfish and corn are made for each other. Whether a cornmeal coating on the fish, hush puppies, or fresh corn salsa, they are all quite good together. Just for fun, I have taken the whole freseh ear of corn and stuffed the fish and salsa into the husk. Try it, you’ll like it! A wonderful side dish is coleslaw made with a simple vinaigrette that is slightly sweetened.
Yield: 4 servings
4 ears of fresh corn, or 1 15 ¼ ounce can whole kernel corn, or 1 10 ounce package frozen corn
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
½ cup scallions, chopped (3 or 4)
1 lime, halved lengthwise
4 catfish filets (4-6 ounces each) or other firm fleshed fish such as tilapia
1 teaspoon crushed red Caribe chile, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. If using fresh corn, carefully peel back the husk. You will use it for baking the fish. Cut the ear of corn off the stem just above the end of the cob, leaving the husk intact. Set the husk aside. Cut the corn off the cob and combine with green chiles, scallions, and the juice of half the lime.
2. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Place one filet inside each of the corn husks. Top each with ¼ of the corn mixture and overlap the husks together. (If fresh corn is not available, place the fish in an oiled baking dish. Top with the corn mixture and cover.
3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish flakes easily. Cut the remaining half lime lengthwise into 4 wedges. Serve the fish in the husk with a lime wedge on top. (Or spoon the corn out of the baking dish and place on each plate. Top with the fish and a lime wedge.)
Per Serving: Calories 252, Protein 22 g., Carbohydrates 23 g., fiber 3 g, Fat 11 g., Saturated Fat 2 gl, Cholesterol 54 mg., Sodium 83 mg.
PAN SEARED TUNA STEAKS ALA BAJA
Yield: 2 servings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon crushed caribe chile
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 fresh tuna steaks (5 to 6 ounces each), cut 1 inch thick
1 10-ounce package fresh spinach, rinsed
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1. Using a zester or a grater on the fine setting, zest the very outside (orange part only) of the orange. Squeeze the juice. In a shallow, non-reactive bowl, combine the orange zest, juice, garlic, and Caribe chile.
2. Add the tuna and press into the liquid; turn the tuna and press the other side into the marinade. Let stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours.
3. About 10 minutes before serving time, heat a heavy, well-seasoned skillet until hot over medium-high heat (see Note). Remove the tuna from the marinade (reserve marinade) and cook for 4 minutes, then turn and cook for about 3 minutes. Keep warm.
4. Add the spinach to the skillet, drizzle with the reserved marinade, and cover. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes, until the spinach is just wilted. Add the vinegar and toss.
5. Arrange on warm serving plates and top with the tuna.
Note: Water sprinkles should dance on the surface when it is hot enough. If you do not have a well-seasoned skillet, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a skillet.
Per Serving: Calories 259, Protein 38 g, Carbohydrates 16 g, Fiber 4 g, Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 56 mg, Sodium 168 mg.
Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel's Quick and Easy Southwestern Cookbook