Monday, March 30, 2009

Another great recipe from the Barefoot Contessa

When I got to the Y tonight I turned on the Food Network, as usual, and this time I came in halfway through an episode of the Barefoot Contessa. I got there just as she was beginning to prepare Mustard-Roasted Fish.

I watch for entertainment, and to distract myself from the tedium of the elliptical machine—not usually for recipes I would actually prepare. Most of the food I see on the Food Network is far too buttery, olive oily, carby, cheesy, chocolately, and/or delicious for me to dabble with.

But this fish recipe caught my eye. Even though she was using creme fraiche (I immediately wondered whether I could substitute fat free sour cream). It's a simple recipe: creme fraiche (or possible substitute) mixed with dijon mustard, shallots, and capers, and poured over white fish filets which are then baked at 425 degrees. I happened to have two largish halibut filets in my refrigerator waiting to be cooked tonight. I noted the other ingredients on my cell phone so I wouldn't forget.

I had to stop at QFC for the sour cream, shallots and capers, just because I was out, although under many circumstances I might have all the ingredients at hand in my fridge. I decided to go with a mixture of fat free sour cream and greek yoghurt. I know that this wouldn't be as delicious as using the creme fraiche, but with a calorie differential of about 10 calories per tablespoon versus at least 50 in creme fraiche, the substitution had to be made. I like a lot of sauce.

I hadn't noted the proportions, so I just glopped quite a lot of the sour cream and yoghurt into a bowl, spooned in dijon mustard and a spoonful of grainy mustard, then chopped up a large shallot and added it, along with a whole bunch of capers. I put the halibut into my baking dish and poured the whole lot over.

It took about 25 minutes to bake at 425 degrees (the halibut was quite thick). The juices from the cooked fish blended with the mustard sauce, which mellowed it quite a bit. Still,with the amount of mustard I used and the large quantity of capers, the flavor was quite strong. That was fine with me—I like sharp flavors—but it probably wouldn't hurt to follow the proportions in the recipe. I also expect that the flavors are stronger using the fat free cream than when there is a creamier base, either the creme fraiche or a regular sour cream. But I thought it was quite tasty.

Coincidentally, the show with this recipe also featured the roasted broccoli that I made the other day. I took that as a hint, and cooked up another batch tonight to go with the fish. It was a great meal. Good thing, as I still have enough fish for two or three more dinners this week. Recycling, you know.

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