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Friday, April 04, 2008

Baked cod with garlic ginger oil

Last night for dinner, I made a bunch of dishes "match", like they really belonged together in the same meal. Even though they were really just a bunch of things I pulled out because I decided they needed to be eaten.

  • 1 pound of mahimahi fillets
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound of fresh broccoli
  • Leftover rice
  • A green salad

I started with an idea approximately like this recipe for baked fish, but didn't really feel like using jerk- or Cajun- style seasonings again. I knew the kids insist fish is only good with ponzu sauce, and that spaghetti squash always seems to come out too watery and crisp or else overcooked and mushy. I had a moment of discouragement and panicked. Some part of me reached about 20 years back, to a time when my only seasonings were powdered garlic, powdered ginger, and soy sauce. Since then, though, I've learned a few things....

You can finish baked spaghetti squash in a pan to drive out extra water and control how much it cooks. Lemon juice is really good on fish. Ponzu sauce has citrus and sweetness in it. You need oil to finish baked spaghetti squash in a skillet. You can use the same oil to dress the baked fish, and broccoli tastes good with a little bit of oil, too.

So I came to my senses and did something like this:

  1. Split a spaghetti squash in half the long way, forced the halves, face-down, into a pretty baking dish with 1/4 cup of water, covered it, and microwaved for 10 minutes
  2. Heated a large skillet, then added 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 huge clove of garlic (minced), and a small knob of fresh garlic (minced), left it cooking slowly over low heat for about 10 minutes, and then turned off the heat.
  3. Cut up the broccoli crowns, put them in the steamer basket over water in the saucepan, ready to go.
  4. Took the hot squash out of the microwave and dried the baking dish
  5. Put the fish fillets in the same baking dish (this was my second-cleverest idea all evening), squirted them with lemon juice, spooned a tablespoon or less of the garlic-ginger oil on them, and sprinkled them with sugar and just a tiny bit of low-Sodium soy sauce.
  6. Spooned a little bit of oil into a very small bowl, to save it for the broccoli
  7. Scraped the spaghetti squash into the skillet with the rest of the seasoned oil, and gave it a good stir to break it up into strands and mix the oil around a bit.
  8. Then I waited until twenty 'till dinner time and preheated the oven to 350°F
  9. At quarter 'till dinner time, I put the baking dish in the oven.
  10. At ten 'till, I turned on the heat under the broccoli (high) and the squash (medium). While the broccoli steamed, I stirred the squash strands as gently as I could with a pair of tongs to finish them cooking evenly, drive off the excess water, and make sure the flavor was evenly distributed. Then I turned off the heat and put the lid on the squash.
  11. At 5 'till, I pulled leftover rice out of the refrigerator, and popped it into the microwave for 3 minutes.
  12. At 3 'till, I took the broccoli out of the steamer and dressed it with the reserved oil and just a drop of soy sauce.
  13. At dinner time I pulled the baking pan out of the oven and set it on a trivet on the table.
  14. I added a tiny sprinkle of soy sauce to the squash and brought everything else to the table.

If that sounds too good to be true, it's the "something like" talking. Actually, I had already dressed the fish with powdered garlic and ginger before I realized flavored oil would be better and just as easy. The waiting in steps 8 and 9 was not as relaxing as you might think, as I spent the time shouting at the kids to clear and set the table instead of playing with the accumulated toys, newspapers, and junk mail. I didn't actually do step 6. Instead, I scraped the squash into a large bowl and left the oil in the skillet until the broccoli was ready. I had thought I might serve the squash in the bowl, but the bowl was cold by serving time and I served the squash in the skillet. It's a nice-looking skillet. Sometime during step 10, I checked the fish, panicked, and turned the oven up to 400°F. I didn't make the rice myself -- my husband had made it to go with his Red Stripe chili the night before. And did you notice the salad was MIA? I discovered a lettuce shortage during step 8. But it's the thought that counts. I chopped up extra broccoli.

Fish baked this way is just about foolproof (why did I panic?), and looks smashing on a bed of spaghetti squash. The kids didn't even complain about it (much). The spaghetti squash was seconds-worthy, the broccoli was just as good as always and maybe a little better. The rice was as good as it had been the night before, and nobody asked about the salad. This was a successful 50-minute weeknight meal. If I had known what I was doing, I probably could have done it more quickly, but I still would have had to allow time for the fish to thaw.

Baked Fish Dinner with Garlic Ginger Oil

Recipe By: Family Nutritionist
Serving Size: 4
Main Ingredient:

-= Ingredients =-
3/4 pound raw fish fillets
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
2 tablespoon Olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 oz Fresh ginger
1/2 pound Spaghetti Squash
2 cups Broccoli florets
4 cups Romaine
1 tablespoon Low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups Cooked brown rice

Serving: 3 oz fish, 1/2 cup each broccoli, spaghetti squash, and rice, 1 cup romaine (346g), Calories: 279: Fat: 8g : Sodium: 208mg
Protein: 20g, NetCarbs: 28, K: 754mg
SatFat: 1g, PolyFat: 1g, MonoFat: 5g, Chol: 37mg
TotCarbs: 31g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 1g
Calories: 28.0% from fat, 44.4% from carbohydrates 07.2% from protein

DASH: Vegetables: 3.0: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 1.0: Meat/Fish: 1.0: Seeds: 0.0: Fats: 1.5: Sweets: 0.0
USDA: Vegetables: 1.5: Fruits/Juices: 0.0: Dairy: 0.0: Grains: 1.0: Meat/Fish/Seeds: 1.0: Fats: 1.5: Sweets: 0.0

Edited on 7 April 2008 to correct errors in nutritional information and to add the rice, which I had left out of the original posting.

Nutritional information in this post calculated using bigoven. Food Group Servings calculated in EXCEL using http://www.mypyramid.gov/ and DASH diet references