Sunday, January 27, 2013

Meal Makeover - Healthier Fish Fry

Growing up Catholic in the North East, we used to have fish fries every Friday during lent.  As you move around the country, you see that "fish fries" aren't that big in other areas.  I craved them while I was pregnant with baby #1 in Miami and I couldn't find one anywhere!  I had to go to the golf coast of Florida, where many of the retired "snow birds" lived.  There I could find one on nearly any early bird special.  Ha!  Now that I live in Boston, I'm back in business.

Fish & chips or fish fries are a very popular thing around here and I ate them quite often when pregnant with baby #2.   But we all know that fried fish with tartar sauce, fried potatoes, and mayonnaise laden coleslaw is not the healthiest of meals.   I haven't had one in a long time, at least not since I've diligently been trying to loose my baby weight.  So with fresh, sustainable, wild caught seafood on sale at my local Whole Foods Market, I thought I would give a healthier fish "fry" a try.   Today I used cod, but haddock would work well for this too.  I did not deep fry anything - pan fried the fish in a few tablespoons of olive oil, oven baked the french fries, and made a lighter version of coleslaw that will make this meal come full circle.  And I promise you won't feel like you are missing out on anything!  I even made a low-fat and healthier version of tartar sauce, cause if you're like me, everything tastes better slathered in a condiment.

It was family approved!  Even the kiddos ate the fries and the fish, (I made one of fish with no breading for the baby).  After he was done eating, I asked my husband if he could tell that any part of his meal was low calorie.  He said NO - Success!!!  Don't tell them and they can't tell the difference.  The best part -MY fish fry craving was satisfied indeed!

I hope that you enjoy these recipes and give them a try really soon!
Happy Cooking!

Low-cal Coleslaw
Original recipe inspired by
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayonnaise cause that is what I had)
1/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup 2% greek yogurt
2 T granulated sugar
2 T white vinegar
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 pkg (16 oz) of coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots) - you can shred your own cabbage and carrots if you want, but this is a HUGE time saver

First make the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients except for coleslaw mix.  Once the sugar is dissolved and dressing ingredients well incorporated, add the coleslaw mix and stir until dressing is evenly distributed.  Allow to sit in fridge for 2 hours up to overnight.  The longer the better. 

Hand-cut Seasoned Baked Fries
Original recipe inspired by
4 baking potatoes, cut into wedges or slices (depending on how thick or thin you like your fries.  I cut mine to be similar to a steak fry)
3 T olive oil
1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder
1/2 tsp salt and more for after they come out of the oven (sprinkle to taste)

Mix together olive oil and seasonings in a large bowl.  Add the potato wedges and toss to coat.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place potatoes in a single layer.  Bake at 400 for 20 min, flip and bake an additional 20 min or until golden brown and tender.  (I flipped mine one more time and baked an additional 10 minutes because I like well done fries.)  After they come out of the oven, sprinkle with salt to taste if desired and toss.  Served immediately.

Tartar Sauce - revamped
Original recipe
1/3 greek yogurt
1/4 olive oil mayonnaise
1 T capers, chopped
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 pickle spear, minced
1 tsp pickling liquid from the pickle jar
salt & pepper to taste (might not need any salt because of pickle and capers - taste first then season)

Mix together all of the ingredients and let sit in fridge for at least an hour before serving.  

Panko Breaded Fish Fillets
Original Recipe

1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2-1 cup panko bread crumbs (I have used whole wheat panko in the past and they are great - I couldn't find them at the store this time around)
1 egg, beaten
1 T water
couple dashes of hot sauce
1 - 2lbs of cod fillets (or haddock works well too) - I used cod because it was on sale, and I used a recommended 1.3 lbs to serve 2 adults and a toddler

Create a breading station next to the stove like the one pictured below.  Flour, salt, and pepper in one bowl (mix to combine), egg wash in another bowl, (egg, water, hot sauce, beaten together), and panko breadcrumbs on another. 

Cut fish into individual pieces (mine was one HUGE fillet, I cut it into 7 rather equal size pieces).   Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat the pan with olive oil.  I don't measure the olive oil must use just enough oil so that the panko doesn't burn, but not too much.  I would say I use 2 T per batch of fish, and add a little more after I flip them.   Dip fish into flour, egg, and then panko.  Place into the pan and "fry" for 2-3 min before flipping it over (the pieces in my first batch, pictured below, were slightly thicker than the other pieces so they took 3-5 min on each side).

Flip the fish and let cook another 2-3 min or until fish easily flakes apart.  You can usually tell from pushing on it with your finger.  If its still firm, then it needs more cooking time.  If you can push easily, then its probably done.  Again, if its a thicker piece of fish it may take longer.  Also, you may need to add a little more olive oil after flipping.  If the pan is too dry then your breading will burn before the fish is cooked through.

Place fish on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the access oil, (shouldn't be much).  Serve with a side of hand-cut seasoned baked fries, low-cal coleslaw, and tartar sauce.  Yummy!

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