Feb. 3, 2002 - Celebrate February as National Heart Health Month with a heart-healthy version of one of Virgin Islanders' favorite dishes -- fried fish and gravy.
Instead of frying the fish in deep-fat, try "oven frying" instead. This method calls for dipping fish in a moistening mixture such as cholesterol-free egg white, then in flavored breadcrumbs or cornmeal and then baking them in a hot oven. The key is to lightly coat the baking dish with a more heart-healthful fat such as olive oil before you place the fish in the container. This bakes the fish and crisply toasts the crumb coating, while minimal fat is absorbed.
As for the fish gravy, try this: Make a fat-free sauce by simmering down flavorful vegetables such as onion, tomato and green pepper, along with fresh thyme, fish broth and lemon juice. This vegetable-rich mixture is tasty and much better for your heart than a butter-rich sauce.
If you like this oven-fried fish recipe, then try the same method to cook chicken. It's also finger-lickin' good.
Oven Fried Fish with Heart-Healthy Sauce
1 pound fish fillets
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon each salt and lemon pepper
1 egg white
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs or cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup fish broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
Fish preparation: Cut fillets into serving-size pieces. In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt and pepper; set mixture aside. Beat egg white until frothy; set aside. Combine bread crumbs and cornmeal in another shallow dish; set aside. Coat bottom of baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Dip both sides of fish fillets into flour mixture, egg white and then crumbs-cornmeal mixture. Place fillets in baking dish. Bake at 425 F for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork and coating is crispy and browned.
Sauce preparation: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Sauté onion, tomato and green pepper until soft, or about 5 minutes. Add fish broth, thyme, lemon juice, salt and black pepper, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes more. Serve sauce over fish.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 357 calories, 9 gms fat (24 percent fat calories), 100 mg cholesterol, 245 mg sodium.