It's official: Three of the perennial top-10 New Year's resolutions, as listed on the national website USA.gov are "Eat Healthy Food," "Get Fit," and "Lose Weight."
And one thing you can do to help you achieve all three of those goals is to cook smartly at home. How do you do that? By creating meals that feature healthful ingredients; and enjoying foods that promote fitter lifestyles while, combined with regular safe exercise (and always in a program that meets with your doctor's approval), helping you to achieve your ideal weight.
Let's start by looking at the main ingredient: fish. I'm so happy to see that, more and more, lovers of good food are making fish their first choice. Not only does it taste great but it can also be incredibly versatile, welcoming a wide variety of cooking methods and seasoning styles -- including the Asian treatment I use here. Meanwhile, fish is remarkably lean and relatively low in fat -- and the fats some contain, including black cod (actually, not a true codfish but a species also known as sablefish), contain generous amounts of heart-healthy Omega-3 oils.
In addition, the miso paste that helps season the fish in this recipe is a soy-based food. Soy products have been found possibly to benefit cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of cancer, and also aid in digestive health. (Some people, however, are allergic to soy foods. If that's the case for you, leave the miso and soy sauce out of this recipe, and you'll still get good-tasting results.) You'll find sealed containers of miso paste, as well as the other ingredients called for in the recipe, in many well-stocked supermarkets and Asian foods stores.
Of course, how you cook your food can also determine how healthful it is. In this recipe, the fish fillets, having marinated in their Asian seasonings, are roasted in the oven, a method that requires adding no additional fat. The results are surprisingly lean and light, but wonderfully full of flavor. The recipe's generous garnish of julienned vegetables tossed in a bright-tasting vinaigrette adds texture, flavor, bright color, and still more nutritional value to each serving. (Save extra vinaigrette for another use.)
So, you see, just the simple decision to eat more fish prepared in ways like my Miso-Glazed Black Cod can help you fulfill your resolutions to "Eat Healthy Food" and "Lose Weight." As for "Get Fit," it's up to you to put on those workout clothes and get moving. And I bet you'll feel more like doing that after eating such a light yet satisfying meal.
Have a wonderful 2013!
MISO-GLAZED BLACK COD
4 fillets black cod, or other mild white-fleshed fish, each about 6 ounces
1-1/2 cups Miso Marinade (recipe follows)
6 tablespoons Asian Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 cup organic pea shoots or small sprigs watercress
3 scallions, cut into fine julienne strips about 1 inch long
1 medium organic carrot, trimmed, peeled, and cut into fine julienne strips
Put the black cod fillets in a nonreactive container large enough to hold them in a single layer. Prepare the Miso Marinade and pour over the fish. Turn the fillets to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours.
About 1 hour before cooking, prepare the Asian Vinaigrette. In a nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the pea shoots or watercress, scallions, and carrot. Add the 6 tablespoons of vinaigrette and toss thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.