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Tag Archives: white fish

Creme fraiche fish (adult recipe)

I’ve realised living in the UK (just gone eight years now… wow how time flies) I crave comfort food. A lot. Food has always been something I turn to when I’m sad, depressed or even bored especially during the colder months, and the regular grey skies and drizzly days here really take their mental toll on hubby and me. Since moving to the UK from Italy we’ve both gotten fatter. Not good!

So I’ve been on the search for low-calorie but tasty dinners. And they also need to be fairly quick and easy. This fish recipe has now become a favourite and tastes great (I don’t feel deprived at all!). The ‘secret’ is replacing the creme fraiche in the original recipe by Barefoot Contessa with low-fat creme fraiche. I don’t think anyone could taste the difference.

Smothering the fish with the mustardy creme fraiche keeps the fish lovely and moist, and there’s less chance of it overcooking. It goes great with the grated courgette/zucchini from this recipe (and it’s also low in calories). A perfect midweek meal that’s quick to make and tasty.

CREME FRAICHE FISH

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Makes 2 adult servings

2 white fish fillets (eg. haddock, cod or plaice)
4 tbsp low-fat creme fraiche
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp capers, drained
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray or an ovenproof baking dish with baking paper.

Sprinkle the baking paper with salt and pepper to season the underside of the fish. Place the fish fillet on the paper (skin side down if it still has skin). Season the top with salt and pepper.

Put the creme fraiche in a small bowl and mix in the two mustards and the capers.

Spoon the mustardy creme fraiche evenly over the fish, making sure to completely cover it.

Bake for 10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let sit for a couple of minutes. If you’re not sure if it’s cooked through, put a knife into a thick part and see if the flesh flakes.

Serve with a green salad or stir fried grated courgette/zucchini.

Variations:

  • the original recipe also has finely diced shallots in the sauce
  • add some fresh herbs (chives, parsley, etc) either to the sauce or sprinkle over at the end
Do you have any low-fat yummy recipes to share?
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Fish pie with sweet potato

I always make white sauce on the stove in a saucepan. Apart from stirring it fairly constantly, it’s easy. I use a whisk instead of a wooden spoon to avoid lumps and it works a treat.

But… it’s much easier to make a large amount of white sauce. Making toddler meals you tend to only need about a tablespoon of sauce. Up until now I’ve tried to make a small amount, used less than half and thrown the rest away (and that makes me feel VERY wasteful!).

I stumbled across a recipe that made white sauce in the microwave. While I’ve embraced my microwave more since feeding Nicholas, I was more than just a little bit sceptical of using it to make a sauce. Surely there will be lumps? Focusing on the fact that I could make a small amount hopefully without wastage, I tried it. It worked.

FISH PIE WITH SWEET POTATO

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes two toddler servings

40-50g white fish, deboned and cut into chunks
1/2 cup milk
4 raw prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp peas
1 small sweet potato
1 tsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
Small handful of cheddar cheese, grated
Pinch of salt and pepper (optional)

Use the point of a knife or a skewer to prick the sweet potato in a few places all over. Cook on high in the microwave for 3-4 minutes until it feels soft inside. Leave to cool then pull off the peel and mash in a small bowl. Add a teaspoon or two of the milk and mix. Season if you wish.

Put the fish and prawns into a small microwave-safe bowl with about 3 tbsp of the milk (enough to just cover the fish and prawns). Cover and cook on medium 1-2 minutes until just cooked. Drain but keep the milk.

Flake the fish checking for bones and cut the prawns into small pieces. Divide the fish and prawns between two small oven-proof dishes (souffle or creme caramel ramekins are perfect). Scatter over the peas.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave. Mix in the flour well making sure there aren’t any lumps. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if you wish then add the milk (including the milk you cooked the fish in). Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cook on medium in the microwave for 3 minutes, stopping every minute to whisk it. Your finished sauce should be quite thick.

Pour the white sauce over the fish mixture. Dollop on the sweet potato and the grated cheese. Put under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.

Variations:

  • Add a little bit of smoked fish to the fish mixture
  • Use normal mashed potato instead of sweet potato mash
  • Add some fresh herbs to the white sauce (chives, parsley)

Apologies for not having a photo of the finished dish. My very hungry toddler wasn’t interested in waiting any longer for his dinner!

Cod in prosciutto with courgettes (adult recipe)

As promised in my previous post, the recipe for a great zucchini/courgette side dish. It goes fantastically with any fish and can turn a rather boring piece of poached or fried fish into something more special.

I came across this way of cooking zucchini through a Jill Dupleix recipe I’m fairly sure was in The Times when she was a food writer for them. Her idea of wrapping cod (or any white fish) in prosciutto is very yummy and a great way to avoid overcooking the fish. She has a cod in prosciutto recipe on her website but she serves it with cabbage (I’m not convinced I’d like it as much as the zucchini!).

Jill Dupleix suggests the variation of substituting the prosciutto for streaky bacon which I’m sure would work very well. When I made this a few days ago I was sure we had prosciutto in the fridge (I live with an Italian after all!), but when I came to make it I discovered it was pancetta. I used the pancetta without saying anything to hubby but after his first mouthful his critique was ‘Pancetta’s too sweet for this recipe’. And he’s probably right!

If I’m making this for other people I cut the fish into smaller pieces, as the recipe suggests, to look prettier, otherwise I just wrap the whole fillet. To wrap the fish, lay your slices of prosciutto horizontally on a cutting board overlapping a little. Place the fish vertically in the middle making sure very little if any of the fillet extends beyond the prosciutto at the top and bottom. Bring the prosciutto over on one side and then the other, folding in any excess.

The only thing I’ve changed from the original recipe is to omit seasoning the fish well before wrapping in the prosciutto. Sometimes I use some black pepper, but never any salt as the prosciutto is salty enough. The weight of the fish is also very generous in the original recipe; I usually use 150g more or less for each person.

I tend to always use caraway seeds in the zucchini rather than fennel. Caraway has a subtler flavour and hubby isn’t a great fan of fennel seeds. Why not try both and see which you prefer?

COD IN PROSCIUTTO WITH COURGETTES

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Serves 2 adults

2 cod fillets, 150-180g each
4-6 slices prosciutto
1 tbsp olive oil
2 courgettes, washed
1 tsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fennel or caraway seeds
salt and pepper
a few sprigs of parsley to serve

Trim cod into neat squares or rectangles. Wrap them neatly in prosciutto. Warm two dinner plates in the oven.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over a medium heat in a non-stick frying pan and cook fish presentation-side down first, until prosciutto is crisp (about 3-4 mins). Turn and cook until other side is crisp and fish just cooked through (another 3-4 mins).

While the fish is cooking, coursely grate the unpeeled courgettes. Heat butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a second non-stick frying pan over a med-high heat and toss courgette very quickly in the hot pan, adding lemon juice, fennel or caraway seeds, salt and pepper.

Arrange courgettes on the two warmed plates, top with the cod and some sprigs of parsley.

Variations:

  • Use any other white fish (haddock, plaice, etc.)
  • Use streaky bacon instead of prosciutto (you’ll need about 6-8 slices)

Other uses:

  • The courgette works well as a side with any fish