For any dinner party where the guests are likely to be dieters, this menu will tempt their palates while helping their waistlines. It centers on a tandoori-style fish recipe.
Tandoori refers to the tall, cylindrical oven called a tandoor, used by cooks in India. Marinated meats or fish are cooked over a high-heat fire, while thin breads are slapped against the oven walls to bake, according to the reference book Food Lover's Companion.
Here, cod fillets get a typical tandoori marinade. A mixture of lime juice and yogurt provides a tart accent to the slight sweetness of the fish. Paprika, red pepper, turmeric and some fresh ginger give the fillets a bit of color and a strong hint of heat.
Paired with some blanched snow peas and mounds of bright yellow basmati rice (a pinch of turmeric added to the cooking water will turn the grains golden), this Indian-style fish makes a stellar main course.
A simple, saladlike garnish of diced mango and baby spinach leaves tossed in a dressing of lime juice, mint and canola oil makes an attractive and delectable accompaniment. The marinade and garnish also would work well with chicken breasts.
Tandoori fish with mango and baby spinach saladPrep: 25 minutesMarinate: 45 minutesCook: 10 minutesMakes: 4 servings
4 cod fillets, each about 6 ounces, 1 inch thick
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece (1 inch long) ginger root, chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons Greek-style plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons each: paprika, ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon each: coarse salt, turmeric
2 tablespoons each: canola oil, chopped mint leaves
1 ripe mango, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice, see note
2 cups baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 Place cod fillets in a shallow, nonreactive dish. Combine garlic, ginger, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice, yogurt, paprika, red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and turmeric in a small bowl. Whisk well. Pour over fish. Turn fillets several times to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 hours.
2 Whisk together remaining tablespoon of the lime juice, oil, mint and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add the diced mango; toss to coat well. (Salad can be prepared to this point 1 hour ahead; leave at cool room temperature.)
3 Heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove fish from marinade; arrange in a lightly oiled, shallow baking dish. Bake until fish is opaque and flakes easily when pierced with a sharp knife, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Add spinach leaves to bowl with mangoes; toss lightly to coat with dressing. Place each fillet on a dinner plate; garnish with cilantro and salad.
Note: To dice a mango, peel it; then, using a sharp knife, score the flesh in half-inch squares, cutting through to the large pit. Then slice the squares off.
Nutrition information: Per serving: 238 calories, 32% of calories from fat, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates, 28 g protein, 289 mg sodium, 2 g fiber