It may look fishy to you, but microwave dish is easy

FAST & FRESH

May 04, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

Fish is one of those items that often intimidates cooks pressed for time.

Tilapia fillets are recommended here because they are usually less expensive than orange roughy or flounder and are becoming more common in the grocery store. A very mild farm-raised fish, tilapia pairs easily with a great variety of toppings. Farm-raised // catfish also have a mild flavor that works well with this recipe. If you aren't a fan of cilantro, substitute freshly chopped parsley in the sauce. Start the artichokes first, since they require the longest cooking time. Trim the stem and cut off the top of each leaf. This can be done with kitchen shears. Add about 1 inch of water to a saucepan large enough to accommodate the artichokes. Bring to a boil, add a slice or two of lemon if desired, and then add the artichokes. Cover and steam 15-20 minutes, checking periodically to make sure the water has not boiled away. They are done when a leaf can be pulled easily. Turn off the heat and hold until the meal is ready. Serve the artichokes with a calorie-reduced Caesar or Italian dressing poured into bowls for dipping the leaves.

The butter beans are easily heated at the last minute. Sprinkle some thinly sliced scallion greens over the top. For dessert, serve a real indulgence: fresh fruit tarts. Items you should have as staples are: orange juice, cornstarch, white wine (or chicken broth), garlic, reduced fat sour cream, tomato, orange, scallions, reduced-calorie salad dressing.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list includes: 1 1/2 pounds tilapia, catfish or mild white fish fillets; one medium shallot; cilantro; one 16-ounce can butter beans; four artichokes; fresh fruit tarts.

Fish fillets with orange, tomato and cilantro

Serves 4

1 cup orange juice mixed with

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 medium plum tomato, diced

1 large navel orange, peeled and diced

1 1/2 pounds tilapia or catfish fillets

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro (or parsley)

Make the sauce first, since microwaving the fish takes so little time. In a medium microwavable bowl, place orange juice with cornstarch, white wine, garlic and shallot. Microwave on HIGH for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring after the first minute. Stir in the sour cream, tomato and orange and cover to keep warm until fish has cooked.

Place the fish fillets on a large, flat microwavable plate. Salt and pepper both sides. Cover with wax paper and microwave on HIGH 6 to 9 minutes, rotating every 3 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Place on individual dinner plates and top with equal portions of sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro (or parsley).

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