Most types of fish are high in protein and low in fat – and as an added benefit, many varieties are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, too. Here, Chef Jen Wanous suggests four ways to prepare and enjoy fish that you might not have tried before. Based in New York City, chef Jen considers herself “a healthy hedonist.” A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she has worked in kitchens ranging from the Kimchi Taco food truck to Jean-Georges’ ABC Kitchen.
Four Ways to Prepare Fish by Chef Jen Wanous:
1) Open a can! While everyone knows how to make a tuna fish sandwich, there are other options in the canned fish department. Try a smoked fish like trout. Give the fish a quick sauté in a pan with olive oil, deglaze with a little white wine, add roasted cherry tomatoes, and combine with pasta.
2) Pack with spices and grill. Using a sturdy fish like salmon, create a spice mixture to press on the fish and grill on the stove top with a slatted pan. For a serving of four try: ¼ cup brown sugar; zest of one orange; 2 teaspoons smoked paprika; 1 teaspoon ground cumin; ½ teaspoon ground coriander; ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper; 1 teaspoon salt; and cayenne to taste. Experiment with other flavor combinations.
3) Sear. For this type of preparation, you’ll want to use the highest quality fish available: Look for the “sushi-grade.” Portion the fish into 4 – 5 ounce pieces. Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat, add olive oil, place the pieces in the pan and sear each side for just 30 seconds. Serve with a soy-wasabi dipping sauce.
4) Bake with a salt crust. This is a sophisticated way to prepare fish and has a built in flavor enhancement and moisture lock: salt. For this you’ll use one whole fish like red snapper or sea bass. Rinse and pat the fish dry. Add whole stems of fresh herbs to the inside of the fish. Whip 4 egg whites until they create soft peaks. To this, add 2 cups of kosher salt. Spread ¼ of this mixture on a large baking dish, place the fish on top and cover the fish with the remaining mixture. Bake for 40 minutes at 450 degrees. Crack and remove the crust to serve.
(Some recipes may not be suitable to those with specific dietary restrictions, such as a low sodium diet. As always, consult with your doctor for specific dietary recommendations.)
Find a market near you that offers fresh, sustainable fish for purchase, and have fun experimenting with ways to prepare and enjoy this high protein, low fat main dish!