Fish is making a name for itself as the main star of the dinner plate. It’s no wonder, since it touts important health benefits: lower calories than its competitor land-loving proteins (beef, pork and chicken) and high omega-3 content. Fish is also a versatile food; there is a large variety of fish to choose from and each can be prepared several ways, such as grilling, poaching, sautéing, frying and steaming. There are many side dishes that complement such a varied performer.
The beauty of most fish dishes is that they are complemented by just about any side of vegetables. The main thing to keep in mind is the way the fish is prepared. Take, for example, fish and chips; this traditionally British meal of fried white fish (typically cod, flounder or haddock) is always served with thick-cut fries and accompanied with a bottle of malt vinegar. If grilled fish is on the menu, a less-heavy option would suffice, such as steamed broccoli with lemon juice or cucumber and tomato slices drizzled with balsamic vinegar and freshly ground pepper. Sautéed onions and garlic accompanied with roasted potatoes would be a heartier choice to pair with a poached fish, with a green salad on the side.
Fruit-based salsas are a great way to liven up just about any prepared fish and are especially tasty on grilled, sautéed or steamed fish. These salsas offer a nod to island cooking, where fruits are plentiful and truly fresh. Look for salsa recipes that include mango, papaya, pineapple or grapefruit; many salsas included fresh cilantro, as well. Try them on grilled tilapia, sautéed monkfish or poached salmon and serve with a side of Jamaican jerk black beans.
Fish can usually be baked in a foil-lined toaster oven in as little as 15 minutes. The ingredients? Rinsed fish fillets and the spices or herbs of choice. That’s it—no butter or oil needed. Place the rinsed fillets on a foil-lined pan designed for the toaster oven. Sprinkle the spice on one side (or both sides for added flavor) and bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes; the thicker the cut of fish, the longer to cook the fillets. Make sure to cook the fish medium-well to well done to ensure that no one gets sick from undercooked fish. Try blackened seasoning on yellowfin tuna, lemon-pepper seasoning on orange roughy or Mrs. Dash on red snapper.