Oven-frying makes fish low-fat without forsaking crunch and flavor

March 15, 1995|By Judith Blake | Judith Blake,Seattle Times

If you're hooked on fish, or would like to be, chances are you welcome fresh new ways to prepare it.

And if you're among those who eat more fish during Lent that may be doubly true.

Here's a fish-cooking method worth trying: Oven "frying." It delivers the taste appeal of deep-fat frying, but with less fat -- although the fat content varies considerably from recipe to recipe.

The trick is to create a seasoned breading that adds crunch and flavor and helps keep the fish moist and succulent while it bakes. The baking temperature is high and the baking time relatively brief, just long enough to thoroughly cook the fish.

Bread crumbs form the base for the breadings in the following recipes, although one -- Oven-fried Scallops with Jamaican Tartar Sauce -- uses cornmeal as well. In most cases, the breading is held together with non-fat yogurt or non-fat sour cream, plus egg whites or a whole egg.

Assorted seasonings -- plus the different kinds of fish -- give lively and distinctive character to each recipe. In Oven-crisped Fish and Chips, the breading is flavored with cayenne, cumin, garlic powder and paprika.

Oven-fried Orange Roughy with Italian Crumb Crust gets its Italian personality from such things as oregano, sage, basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

Hot pepper sauce, chopped lime, green onions and cilantro enliven the scallops' Jamaican Tartar Sauce, while the breading for Oven-fried Cod takes on the flavors of onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.

In Oven-Fried Dijon Tuna with Double-Mustard Tartar Sauce, the taste-tingling sauce delivers a splash of flavor with Dijon mustard, grainy mustard, lime juice and capers. The tuna's breading, meanwhile, holds its own with mustard, paprika, pepper and lime juice.

If fat is a concern, you'll want to check the recipes' nutritional data. Fat content varies from only 7 grams per serving in both the orange roughy and the cod recipes to 17 grams per serving in the tuna preparation.

Oven-fried Cod

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons low-fat milk

1 egg, or 2 egg whites, or 1/4 cup egg substitute

3 tablespoons plain non-fat yogurt or non-fat sour cream substitute

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon paprika

vegetable cooking spray

1 1/3 pounds cod fillet, cut into 4 pieces

4 teaspoons margarine, melted

lemon wedges

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Whisk together the milk, egg, yogurt, onion and garlic powders and salt; pour onto a plate.

Combine the seasoned bread crumbs and paprika; spread onto a plate. Spray a baking sheet with the cooking spray.

Dip the cod pieces into the egg mixture; then coat liberally with the bread crumbs. Put onto the baking sheet and drizzle with the melted margarine. Bake about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes and is done. Serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: calories 323, protein 50 g, fat 7 g, carbohydrates 12 g, sodium 759 mg, saturated fat 2 g, monounsaturated fat 3 g, polyunsaturated fat 2 g, cholesterol 164 mg.

The following recipe has been adapted from "The Health-Lover's Guide to Super Seafood" by Tom Ney; the one that follows is based on an idea from the book.

Oven-fried Scallops with Jamaican Tartar Sauce

Makes 4 servings

TARTAR SAUCE:

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped lime sections

2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions

1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro or parsley

1 stalk celery, finely minced

SCALLOPS:

1 egg, or 2 egg whites, or 1/4 cup egg substitute

2 tablespoons non-fat yogurt

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1/3 cup white cornmeal, or fine yellow cornmeal

vegetable cooking spray

1 1/3 pounds large scallops, patted dry with paper towels

2 teaspoons margarine, melted

To prepare the tartar sauce: Combine the mayonnaise, pepper sauce, chopped lime, green onions, cilantro or parsley, and celery. Refrigerate for 1 hour to blend the flavors.

To prepare scallops: Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Whisk together egg or egg whites, yogurt, pepper sauce and salt; pour onto a plate. Combine bread crumbs and cornmeal and spread on a second plate.

Spray a shallow baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Dip scallops in the egg mixture, and then in the bread crumb mixture. Arrange in the baking pan and drizzle with the melted margarine. Bake 8 minutes.

Remove scallops from oven and turn oven to broil. When hot, put scallops on top rack and broil until golden and cooked through.

Serve with tartar sauce.

Per serving: calories 393, protein 27 g, fat 16 g, carbohydrates 34 g, sodium 789 mg, saturated fat 3 g, monounsaturated fat 7 g, polyunsaturated fat 5 g,cholesterol 114 mg.

Oven-crisped Fish and Chips

Makes 4 servings

POTATOES:

vegetable cooking spray

4 medium-sized white potatoes, scrubbed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

FISH:

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

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