For those times when you've just got to treat yourself, try salmon in this low-fat, gingery sauce


April 24, 1991|By Charlyne Varkonyi

Salmon, the most elegant of fin fish, always has been considered a special treat. And in these penny-pinching days, it takes on even higher status at more than $10 a pound as we try to stretch our food budgets.

But sometimes you just gotta enjoy yourself no matter what the cost. Whether it's an anniversary celebration or just a treat-yourself-during-the-week event, salmon is a tasty alternative. Although the distinctive flavor needs little more than a touch of olive oil and fresh herbs, it's also assertive enough to stand up to a ginger-laced sauce.

The devil-may-care version of this Fastlane sauce is rich in flavor -- and in the saturated fat that many of us are trying to avoid. But I've also developed an alternative sauce, using a product new to the Baltimore-Washington market called Canola Sunrise Margarine -- with no cholesterol and with claims of being the lowest in saturated fat of any margarine with only 1 gram per tablespoon. That's half the saturated fat of other leading margarines. The lower-fat version of the sauce also omits the whipping cream or substitutes half and half. And you don't have to feel deprived because the alternative version is just as tasty!

Fat watchers may want to serve the potatoes topped with yogurt instead of serving them with butter and parsley.

Your game plan should start by putting the potatoes on to boil. Make the sauce and while it's cooking, broil the salmon and prepare the broccoli.

Items you should have in your pantry include: butter, green onions, fresh ginger, pine nuts, lemons, heavy cream, garlic, chicken broth, salt and pepper, baby potatoes.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list should include:

* 1 pound salmon fillets

* 1 bunch broccoli

* radicchio

Salmon fillets with ginger and pine nuts

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

4 tablespoons butter or cholesterol-free margarine

3 green onions, sliced diagonally, including green part

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, cut in thin slivers

2 ounces pine nuts or slivered almonds

juice of 2 lemons, about 1/3 cup

4 tablespoons chicken broth

2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half, optional

1 pound salmon fillets

Melt butter or margarine and saute onion, ginger and nuts until golden. Add juice and chicken broth and cook on medium about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add optional cream, stir well and cook another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, broil salmon fillets about 5 minutes per side.

Pureed broccoli on radicchio

Makes 4 servings.

1 bunch broccoli

2 cloves garlic

2/3 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons heavy cream, optional

4 radicchio leaves

Steam broccoli. Put garlic, chicken broth and steamed broccoli in a food processor and blend. Season with salt and pepper. Add optional cream and blend again. Serve on radicchio.

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