Zesty salsa tops fast-cooking halibut

DINNER TONIGHT

A nutritious dish in less than hour

August 24, 2005

Frozen fish fillets, always at the ready in your freezer, are quick to cook, low-calorie and quite nutritious - and if you purchase large packages with 10 or 12 fillets, they are economical as well. (Of course, if there's time, you can stop at the market and buy fresh fillets.)

The downside: Alone, they can be bland. But seafood is so easy to dress up.

Here, we're topping halibut fillets with a colorful, zesty salsa inspired by one from Robb Walsh's The Tex-Mex Cookbook. Don't be alarmed by the ingredient list: All you do is chop these items and combine them in a bowl.

Tips

Chop up extra salsa ingredients to use in the mixed salad.

For a small household, cook 1 or 2 fillets and use the leftover salsa with chicken breasts or as a snack with tortilla chips.

Beverage pairing

A California sauvignon blanc would make a nice pairing.

Menu

Mixed green salad

Halibut with mango-strawberry salsa

Dinner rolls

Poundcake with crushed pineapple and brown sugar

Halibut With Mango-Strawberry Salsa

Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 15 minutes

Makes 4 servings

4 frozen halibut fillets (about 6 ounces each), thawed, see note

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

MANGO-STRAWBERRY SALSA:

1 mango, peeled, diced

10 strawberries, hulled, diced

6 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

3 green onions, sliced

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, minced

juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Bake fillets on a greased baking sheet until flaky when tested with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients in a large bowl. Put halibut fillets on plates; top with salsa.

Note: Frozen fillets typically require 8 to 10 hours of thawing time in the refrigerator, so stick them in the fridge in the morning. However, you also can quick-thaw fillets in the microwave in about 3 to 4 minutes - or, for that matter, cook them in about 10 minutes.

Per serving: 465 calories; 33 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 84 milligrams cholesterol; 16 grams carbohydrate; 28 grams protein; 736 milligrams sodium; 3 grams fiber

- Recipe and analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper

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