Today I’d like to welcome my friend Karen as a guest recipe contributor here on The Kitchen Magpie. Everyone say hi!
I am begrudgingly, woefully, grumpily on a low-sodium diet. After a mourning period, where travelling past a Thai restaurant would send me into hysterics, I have now reached the acceptance phase, and am moving on.
This is a relatively new thing for me. After the lo-so writ was dropped – rather like a cruise missile – I have made it my priority to find work-arounds to adding salt that don’t strip the life out of a meal, and don’t resort to the sad, pitiful place that Mrs. Dash holds in my heart.
I now have a repertoire of dishes that pass the “is this actually food?” test.
The secret of delicious lo-so food is an overabundance of other strong flavours, and, if your heart/scale can bear it, a bit of extra richness from oil or butter. My big learning: if you seduce the other parts of your palate, your salt craving shuts the heck up.
One of my favorite go-to meals is this gorgeous, deeply flavored broiled, herbed fish. It’s fast, relatively easy, and the fact it’s low in sodium won’t even register.
Fish can be high in salt – but not all of it is. For this recipe you need a mild white fish that isn’t too wimpy in its constitution. Halibut is great for the lo-so eater (70 mg in a 3 oz serving), as is arctic char.
- 4 ounce pieces arctic char fillet or one large fillet 6-, or halibut
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup no-salt chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilatntro
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced, or more
- 1 tsp (or less if you’re not into a bit of zip) good quality black pepper
Juice from one large lemon
Extra broth for basting and sauce optional
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
- Preheat the broiler on your oven, placing a rack about half-way from the top. Cover a baking tray (with raised sides) with parchment paper, or aluminum foil coated in a small bit of olive oil.
- Place the fish fillet, skin side down, on the baking tray.
- Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Pour over the fillet. There will be quite a bit of liquid spillover â€“ this is good. You will use this to baste the fish once or twice during its broil, and it will help add moisture so the fish doesn’t dry out. Do try to get most of the cilantro and garlic right onto the fish, though.
- Put the fish in the oven, and set the timer for 5 minutes. Check the fish for doneness, to your taste (I like it when it just starts to flake in the middle, and lose it’s sheen); if its not yet done, baste the fish with the juice from the pan. If there is no remaining liquid, slowly add a few more tablespoons of broth to the top of the fish and allow it to spill over.
- Continue to check the fish at 1 â€“ 2 minute intervals, basting and adding liquid if necessary. It shouldn’t take more than 7 â€“ 10 minutes, but it depends on the thickness of the fish. As a non-pro, I usually just slice the fillet in half after 5 minutes at the thickest part so I can get a better look at how its doing. (It will still look lovely when you serve it at the table.) The secret to this fish is not to overcook it â€“ at its moment of zen doneness, it will still be juicy, but flaky in an entirely satisfying way.
- Here’s the best part: The herbs at the top of the fish will brown and crisp, making a fantastically flavorful crust. And when you remove the fish, there will be an abundance of drippings and sauce left on the tray; pour/scrape this into a bowl, add a bit more liquid if required, 1-2 tsps of butter, and stir. Heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds if it’s not hot. You will have an unbelievably fantastic sauce to pour over the fish â€“ and it makes a delicious alternative to soy sauce on rice, too.
- Serving Size: 4
Serve on a platter surrounded by lemon wedges, and your dinner companions shall fall at your feet in awe and gratitude. My kids even love this one.
(And there’s no salt.)
(Notes on adaptations: with a very mild fish like halibut, I’ve tried the same recipe with fresh chopped basil leaves replacing the cilantro, and added 1 large, finely diced tomato to the sauce. This is wonderful too – the tomatoes brown and crisp, and the basil adds a warmth and richness to the dish that is entirely pleasing. For additional transcendence, pour 1 to 3 tsp of melted butter onto the fish half-way through its broil.)
Karen is a freelance writer and researcher with a background in art history and a career in crime prevention and healthcare. Meanwhile, she dreams of butter soaked brioche and Cafe Amore’s spicy mussels in tomato sauce.
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