Side Dishes for Fish Meals

By Kathy Price

The American Heart Association recommends that people consume two servings of fish a week. However, according to omega-3 fatty acids researcher William Harris, PhD, Americans fall short of the recommendation. Incorporate side dishes to accompany heart-healthy fish entrees. Pairing up compatible sides with fish entails factoring in spices and the method of food preparation. Encourage reluctant eaters by adding both traditional and innovative side dishes. With the right combination, both artful and simple side-dish recipes can make a difference with fish entrees.

Fish Fillet with Green Vegetable Noodles
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Creative side dishes can enhance a fish entree.

Grilled recipes

Shish kebabs
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Grilled vegetables go well with grilled fish entrees.

Menus for grilled fish, which is often made at outdoor events, call for side dishes that are informal, finger-friendly and appropriate for picnics. Grilled vegetable kabobs easily accompany any grilled fish entrees and are easy to modify. A large mushroom-only kabob can be as savory as a kabob with various vegetables. Grilled asparagus with chilled lemon hollandaise sauce complements many grilled fish recipes.

A tossed leafy green salad with a creamy garlic dressing makes a simple and satisfying side accompaniment. With blackened catfish or barbecued glazed salmon, a cold dill-potato salad goes well. Try seared tuna served with baby spinach salad and a mango chutney. Foil-wrapped baked potatoes are a more substantial side dish. Boil for 10 minutes before grilling. Skip the sour cream, cheese and bacon filling, and instead offer grilled tomatoes with a fresh tarragon-olive oil mix to drizzle. Grilled corn in the husks to make another hearty side dish. Presoak corn in the husks until completely saturated before putting them on the grill. Garnish with butter, fresh parsley and lime.

Dishes accompanying baked fish

Salmon Cutlet, prawn, wild rice and lemon slice on plate, close-up
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Serve baked fish with a rice dish.

Lemon rice pilaf cooked in vegetable stock can complement many baked fish dishes. Stir 1 cup of rice into 2 cups of boiling vegetable stock for 5 minutes. Reduce heat, adding chopped scallions and 1 tsp. of dried lemon verbena. Cover the pot and simmer rice for about 30 minutes or until tender. Let stand for 5 minutes, and add a twist of fresh lemon to the rice. Spinach sauteed lightly with 1/4 cup of shallots can accompany baked fish meals such as Parmesan tilapia and miso-glazed sea bass. Ratatouille can accompany a white fish such as cod baked in a white wine bath, with olives, capers, garlic, tomato and topped with bread crumbs for a Mediterranean twist. Fish filled with bread stuffing, Tuna casseroles and other baked fish all-in-one meals need only a light accompaniment, such as a leafy salad and crusty whole-grain bread.

Fried recipes

Fish and chips dinner
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Fish and chips are a favorite.

Louisiana- or Cajun-style side dishes go well with any fried blackened fish entrees. Pair up blackened fish fillets with smoked baked beans and potato salad. Macaroni and cheese and collard greens are popular sides with Cajun-influenced fish meals. Cornmeal-fried fish such as buffalo or gar are complemented by hush puppies or corn-battered okra. Include raw chopped green kale salad with beefsteak tomatoes and a vinaigrette to balance the heavy fried oils and breading. Partner beer-battered fried cod or whitefish, with french fries for a fish 'n' chips meal. Substitute starchy Idaho potatoes with fiber-rich sweet potato fries. Scrub sweet potatoes, leaving the skin on for extra nutrients, and cut into wedges. Bake in a shallow pan in light olive oil for about 45 minutes. Offer avocado, cucumber, tomato and crunchy green pepper slices with a twist of lemon, ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil as a salad or as a substitute for the potatoes.