Low-fat with an Asian flair

Entertaining

Entertaining: Guests will love a tasty meal that's easy on the waistline.

January 21, 2001|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Occasionally, when I invite friends for dinner, a guest will remind me (in a polite but insistent manner) that he or she is on a low-fat diet.

The strong, assertive flavors and interesting textures of Artic Char with Bok Choy, Garlic and Ginger meets these criteria.

The delectable bok choy, still somewhat crisp, made a fine garnish for the tender, flaky arctic char fillets imbued with the salty taste of soy and complemented by the mild acidity of rice vinegar.

To accompany this entree, you could serve rice drizzled with toasted sesame oil and sprinkled with chives and offer poached pears scented with fragrant spices for dessert.

Arctic Char With Lightly Sauteed Bok Choy, Garlic and Ginger

Makes 4 servings

Arctic char:

4 arctic char fillets, about 7 ounces each and 1/2 to 3 / 4 inch thick (see Note)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

salt

tops of 2 green onions, for garnish

Bok choy:

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 pounds bok choy (see Note)

2 tablespoons canola oil

8 medium or 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 tablespoons minced ginger

One hour before cooking fish, place fillets, skin side down, in non-reactive shallow dish. Whisk together soy sauce and rice vinegar and pour over fish. Salt fish lightly. Marinate at cool room temperature 1 hour.

Fifteen minutes before broiling fish, arrange rack 5 inches from broiler and preheat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Chop green onion tops and set aside for garnish.

To prepare bok choy, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar and salt in small bowl and set aside.

Cut off and discard bases of bok choy. Separate stalks (as you would a head of celery) and rinse well to remove any grit. Pat dry. With sharp knife, remove dark green leaves from white stalks. Trim sides and top of stalks so that they have nice, even edges. Then cut stalks on an angle into 1-inch pieces. Stack several leaves together and trim and discard lower portion of leaves that have tough white veins running through them. Cut leaves into 1/2 -inch-wide julienne strips. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Heat oil in large heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add sliced stalks and cook, stirring constantly, until just crisp-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add julienned leaves plus rice vinegar mixture and cook and stir 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Cover loosely with lid or sheet of aluminum foil while you cook fish. (Bok choy will continue to cook and leaves will wilt as it stands.)

Place fish, flesh side up, on baking sheet. Broil until flesh is opaque and flakes easily when pierced with sharp knife, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.

Remove fillets to heated platter. Sprinkle each with onion greens. Garnish fish with bok choy.

Note: The bok choy available in most supermarkets is about 12 inches long (like a head of celery) and made up of stalks. The stalks are snowy white with beautiful dark green leaves.

If arctic char, a species closely related to salmon and trout, is unavailable, you can substitute salmon.

Cooking time will depend on thickness of fish and may take longer if salmon is thick.

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