Spiced-Up Fish Fillets

TIMES STAFF WRITER

MENU

Easy Baked Fish With Tomato-Cilantro Salsa

Sauteed zucchini and carrot julienne

Warm crusty bread with olive butter

Red seedless grapes

White fish fillets can be bland with straightforward baking. But there are simple ways to infuse flavor. Here, we've rubbed fillets with garlic and vinegar, then spread on a light coating of mayonnaise. You might try adding a sprinkling of dried onion soup mix before baking. Or, if you prefer, top the fish with sliced onions, sesame seeds, lemon pepper or herbs.

Of course, no matter how well it's seasoned, fish won't be at its best if it isn't fresh. Look for firm fish with a shiny, smooth surface and tight grain. An unpleasant fishy odor is a bad sign, and dark bruises or bloody areas indicate that the fish was injured at some stage.

For faster, more even cooking, large fillets can be portioned into serving-size squares. Fish should be moist, juicy and just cooked through. The most reliable method is to use an instant-read thermometer; when inserted into the thickest part of the fish, it should register 125 degrees.

Serve the fish with tomato-cilantro salsa and offer a simple saute of julienned zucchini and carrots. Chopped olives or capers added to soft butter does wonders to warm, crusty French bread. Wind up the menu with sweet, crunchy Red Flame seedless grapes.

Staples

Salt, pepper

1 teaspoon cider or balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic

1 lemon or lime

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Shopping

1 pound fish fillets or steaks (sea bass, mahi-mahi, red snapper, halibut or salmon)

1 package dried onion soup mix

1 tomato

1 bunch cilantro

EASY BAKED FISH WITH TOMATO-CILANTRO SALSA

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon cider or balsamic vinegar

1 pound fish fillets or steaks

Salt, pepper

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon dried onion soup mix

1 tomato

Cilantro leaves

Lemon or lime juice

Optional Side-Dish Shopping

Carrots

Zucchini

French bread

Red Flame seedless grapes

Mince garlic. Add vinegar. Cut fish fillets into 3 to 4 portions, if large. Season fish to taste with garlic-vinegar and salt and pepper. Place fish on baking tray and spread top with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with onion soup mix. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees 15 minutes.

Coarsely chop tomato. Chop 1/4 cup cilantro leaves. Combine and season to taste with salt and pepper and squeeze of lemon juice.

Remove foil cover from fish and broil 2 to 3 minutes, if desired. Serve on heated plates. Sprinkle with lemon juice and surround with tomato-cilantro salsa. Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Note : Fish may also be grilled, either on preheated ridged non-stick cast-iron skillet or over medium-hot coals. Spread mayonnaise all over and sprinkle top with dried onion soup mix. Place on grill and lightly cover fish with foil and grill without turning until fish flakes easily with fork, about 5 to 8 minutes. Red snapper and striped bass fillets, which have nice skins, may be grilled, skin-side down.

Variations:

Instead of dried onion soup mix, substitute French-fried onion rings, fresh onion slices, chopped green onions, fresh mixed herbs or sesame seeds.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
58°