For those of us looking for the lighter side of great tasting gluten-free foods, a wonderful option is fish. Granted, fish cooked with a little cream sauce is always a family favorite but so are countless fish recipes that accentuate the delicate flavor of fish without heavy or calorie laden sauces or toppings.Because fish is cooked quickly, it is perfect for grilling, broiling, roasting, baking or poaching. Additional flavor can be added either before, during or after cooking.
Marinades or rubs impart a variety of flavors from delicate to robust without adding fat or many additional calories. Two fabulous examples are Moroccan Spice Marinated Halibut and Wasabi & Ginger Halibut Skewers. We used halibut for these recipes, but any firm white fish can be substituted.Fish can also be lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and then cooked and finished by drizzling with a light vinaigrette as in Snapper with Tomatoes & Spinach or Grilled Salmon with Citrus & Fresh Herbs or even with a home-made pesto as in Grilled Tuna with Pesto.
Incredible flavors can also be added to fish with salsas. Traditional salsa or salsas with less conventional ingredients are perfect accompaniments. Try salsas with fruit such as Cantaloupe & Roma Tomato Salsa, Cherry Salsa or Mango Jalapeno Salsa. Two 'must try' fish and salsa combinations are Grilled Fish with Basil Roasted Pepper Salsa and Grilled Salmon with Fresh Corn Relish.
Still need more ideas? A lovely low-fat favorite is Fish & Vegetables with Pesto Baked in Foil; great flavor with no clean-up!To assure that your light fish meal with be perfectly cooked, here are a few tips about the various cooking methods for fish.
Broiling is basically an indoor version of grilling with the heat coming from above instead of underneath. Any fish that can be grilled can be broiled.
Guidelines for broiling fish:
- Fish that is 1/2" thick should take approximately 2 minutes to cook per side, about 2" from the heat source. A 1" filet or whole fish should be about 4" from the heat and should take about 4 minutes per side.
- The broiler should always be preheated
- Lightly oil fish before broiling
- Place fish on an oiled piece of foil on top of the broiler pan.
Grilling, although basically the same thing as broiling, in our opinion is superior because of the wonderful nuances that cooking over coals or wood can impart to what you are grilling.
Guidelines for grilling fish:
- Select fish that is at least 1/2" thick
- Grill fish with skin on as it seals in flavor and helps hold the fish together as it cooks
- Rub fish and grill with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Oil the grill prior to heating.
- The best fish for grilling are oily fish such as salmon or tuna
- The grill should be very hot before adding fish to minimize sticking
The terms 'roasting' and 'baking' are sometimes used interchangeably, but the difference has more to do with dry or wet baking. Roasting is done in the oven with dry air and baking generally refers to oven cooking with liquid or wet ingredients that cause steam, which is really quick braising.
Guidelines for baking fish:
- Oven temperature should generally be between 400-450 degrees F, depending on the thickness of the fish
- Baking time depends on the thickness of the fish and whether or not it is whole or a filet or steak. For whole fish, a rule of thumb is 15 minutes per inch of thickness.
- Fish is done when the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F.
Additional Recipes: Oven Roasted Salmon w/Potatoes
Poaching is simply simmering fish in enough liquid to cover the fish. Poaching liquids can have different ingredients, but the following ingredients will get you in the ballpark: water, onions, carrots, fresh parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, fresh thyme and dry white wine.