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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Poached cod with papaya has a tropical twist

By MELISSA D’ARABIAN
The Associated Press

Balancing healthy eating with a crazy weeknight schedule is tricky for everyone. We all have competing priorities that chip away at our days: Kids, careers, school, home, family obligations all take time and energy. And next thing we know, it's 6 p.m. and we haven't given any thought to dinner. What we do next is key.

If we swing by the drive-thru or order a pizza on our handy phone app every time we have a busy weeknight, our health will suffer. A better strategy: Save the pizza for true cravings, and lean on a few recipes in our hip-pocket that can get us through the mealtime crunch. And then stock up on the pantry ingredients that make those recipes a breeze to pull together on a busy night. ...

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Balancing healthy eating with a crazy weeknight schedule is tricky for everyone. We all have competing priorities that chip away at our days: Kids, careers, school, home, family obligations all take time and energy. And next thing we know, it's 6 p.m. and we haven't given any thought to dinner. What we do next is key.

If we swing by the drive-thru or order a pizza on our handy phone app every time we have a busy weeknight, our health will suffer. A better strategy: Save the pizza for true cravings, and lean on a few recipes in our hip-pocket that can get us through the mealtime crunch. And then stock up on the pantry ingredients that make those recipes a breeze to pull together on a busy night.

One of those pantry items is frozen fish fillets. Yes, I love fresh fish tossed right on the grill with a tiny bit of lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. But I don't always have time to head to the fish counter. So, frozen fish is my plan B. I stock up on some classics like Alaskan cod and wild salmon that you can usually cook straight from frozen - just add a few minutes to your cooking time.

Poaching is a perfect cooking method for those frozen fillets because it takes merely minutes, and leaves your fish an open canvas to showcase whatever other ingredients you might have on hand. Flavor the water with some acid and herbs (like lemon juice and fresh thyme branches) or even just a bit of white wine and some dried herbs will work in a Tuesday-night pinch.

Keep the water at a bare simmer - it should look like club soda, not like a rolling boil. And then make a quick relish to top your fish and give it some freshness and excitement.

Today's recipe stars papaya because it's widely available this time of year - peeled and cubed, if you want to pay an extra dollar or two. Papaya is full of vitamins and fiber, and raw papaya has enzymes that are celebrated for helping in digestion. But feel free to swap out for another fruit (even canned peaches work) if you prefer; the tangy lime and apple cider vinegar will marry most fruit beautifully with the fish, no advanced planning required.

POACHED COD WITH
RAW PAPAYA RELISH

Start to finish: 15 minutes. Servings: 4.

4 fillets of cod (about 4-5 oz.
each)

¼ cup white wine

3 cups water

1 tsp. dried thyme

¼ tsp. salt

For relish:

1¼ cups papaya, cut into
small cubes

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. lime juice

½ cup chopped tomatoes

2 green onions, chopped

2 Tbsp. flat-leafed parsley or
cilantro, chopped

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Bring wine, thyme, water and salt to a bare simmer (it should look like bubbly club soda). Place cod in water until fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes for an average piece of fish. Remove fish, and keep on a warm plate.

While fish is cooking, stir together relish ingredients in a small bowl. Spoon relish on top of each piece of cooked fish, allowing heat of the fish to bring out relish flavors.

Nutrition information per serving: 179 calories; 31 calories from fat; 3 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 61 mg cholesterol; 302 mg sodium; 8 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 26 g protein.

Online: www.melissadarabian.net