It's what's on top that counts Touch of the sauce: Quick dollops add color, flavor and loads of interest to broiled fish.

November 05, 1995|By Cathy Thomas | Cathy Thomas,ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Sure, I'm a cooking professional. But contrary to what you might assume, I don't cook every meal.

Mr. Wonderful cooks dinner for me two or three nights a week. Fabulous.

Best of all his dishes is broiled fish:

Chunks of firm-fleshed fish about 1 inch thick -- swordfish, cod or halibut steaks, salmon or sea bass fillets.

Here are Mr. Wonderful's instructions for broiling:

* Cut away any skin except on salmon fillet, which is better with the skin intact, and remove any pin bones. Remove all dark meat from swordfish steaks.

* Sprinkle fish liberally with fresh lemon juice, garlic salt, your favorite seasoning mixture (such as Spike or Mrs. Dash) and pepper.

* Line a baking sheet or jellyroll pan with aluminum foil. Place fish on prepared pan. Adjust oven rack to about 7 inches below broiler element. Broil for 7 minutes on 1 side. Turn and season fish again. Salmon doesn't need to be turned, and it may be ready; test it for doneness by inserting a fork in the thickest part and gently separating the flesh. It will be a consistent opaque color when fully cooked.

Broil until fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Broiling times will vary depending on the type and thickness of fish.

Variations: Season fish with fresh lemon juice, garlic salt, seasoning mixture (such as Spike or Mrs. Dash) and pepper. Broil for 7 minutes on one side. Turn and season fish again. Broil until fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Broiling times will vary with type and thickness of fish. Use sauce of choice.

* Creating sauces can be a matter of just chopping and stirring ingredients together. In some sauces, 2-3 minutes of cooking is required. Tangy vinaigrettes, flavored butters, relishes and fruit salsas add loads of color and flavor to broiled fish.

Tomato relish

2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes

1/4 cup minced red onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or basil

1 tablespoon drained capers

balsamic or sherry vinegar to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients. Spoon over broiled fish or pass at the table.

Papaya salsa

1 large ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and chopped

3 shallots, peeled and minced

1 fresh jalapeno chili, finely minced (remove seeds for milder version)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Combine ingredients. Spoon over broiled fish or pass at th table.

Saffron and green onion butter

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

1 stick butter, softened

3 green onions, trimmed and minced (include about 1/2 inch of dark green stalks)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

optional: red pepper sauce

Heat wine and saffron in saucepan on low heat for 3 minutes. Cool. In food processor blend wine mixture with remaining ingredients. Spread small amount on broiled fish.

Citrus vinaigrette

1/2 lemon

1/2 orange

1/2 grapefruit

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 small onion, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cut citrus into sections. Place olive oil, thyme, garlic and onion in saucepan. Simmer on medium heat for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and spoon over broiled fish.

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