We really wanted some fish for dinner yesterday but neither one of us had a plan as to what to make. Nor did we even have any fish, so had to stop by the store on way home. What am I going to get, how am I going to cook it and what to make with it?? And of course it has to be fast. Sound familiar? Working full time and putting a fresh, wholesome dinner on the table is not always easy. My husband is the midweek Chef and he deserves a lot of credit for cooking almost every day. I’m really lucky to have him
So yesterday I was going to give him a break and make dinner, and there I was in the fish store, looking to see what they had that’s not farmed (yuck full of antibiotics and who knows what), and also not super expensive, … I left with some wild salmon. It’s not the cheapest at $16.99/lb but for the 4 of us, one pound is usually enough for dinner and 1 leftovers-lunch. I also grabbed some fresh spinach, a couple of zucchinis, and a bunch of lacinto kale for smoothies and kale chips. A quick message to the hubs to start cooking some brown rice and then I zoomed home.
Fish can be wonderfully healthy, but as with any foods, there are also less healthy choices. To make better choices, use the following criteria for buying fish:
- Is it farmed or wild? Farm raised fish is often fed an unnatural grain based diet and have lower levels of the good omega-3 fats. Farmed fish are also full of pesticides and antibiotics that are dumped in their “cages” to fight diseases and parasites. Yumm… For a lot more info on wild vs farmed fish look here.
- Is it local? Local fish are fresher as they haven’t traveled as far. Although I opted for salmon that day, many times we have grouper or yellowtail snapper.
- Sustainability: Overfishing is becoming a huge problem and you can do your part by choosing fish that is not threatened by this growing practice. Click here for the latest guide on what to buy where.
- Smaller is better: big fish like tuna or swordfish contain higher levels of mercury simply because they are exposed to it longer during their longer life span. Mercury messes with your body’s ability to energize cells and hold on to important minerals.
- Price – unfortunately most “cheap” fish are also farm raised, so we try to save by getting whole fish instead of filets, or at least the least expensive wild fish on sale. When it comes to fresh seafood, you have to let the health benefits credit towards the higher cost.
OK, so back to last night’s fish dinner: by the time I got home, the brown rice was already happily cooking away, so I kissed the kids as they went out in the backyard to play and went to work:
Here’s how you can throw together a fresh, delicious and healthy seafood dinner in about 30 minutes:
Ingredients for 4 servings:
1 lb wild caught fish (filets)
2 medium sized zucchini, cut in ½” cubes
½ an onion, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
½ lemon, sliced
Olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper
1 bunch (or one 10-oz bag) of fresh spinach
1 tbsp butter
Preheat your oven to 375 F degrees. Put the sliced onions on a large baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tbsp olive oil; toss to coat evenly.
Layer the zucchini on top of the onions, leaving some space in the middle for the fish filets. You can put the fish on top of the onions, lemon and herbs, but don’t cover the zucchini with fish.
Next, rub the thyme a little between your fingers (to release the aromatic oils) and then add all over the onions & zucchini.
Sprinkle about ¾ of the chopped garlic on top, and then add 3-4 lemon slices, season with salt & pepper.
You can pre-sear the fish in a pan if it’s a thick piece (1.5” or more) but otherwise it will cook through just fine on the baking sheet. If your fish filets still have the skin on, cut shallow slits in the skin so that it won’t curl up while cooking.
Lastly, put the fish on top and put everything in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Bigger fish may take 20 minutes or more.
We already had some brown rice cooking, so that saved us time, but if you don’t have a side ready, don’t fret. In the 15 minutes while the fish cooks you can still make some quick cooking whole grain couscous or add some healthy greens with this deeeelicious sauteed spinach:
I love, love, love fresh, crisp greens and was excited to have some nice, garlicky spinach with this dinner. Here’s how easy that was:
Wash the spinach in some cold water, and chop off the long stems. Not necessary if you have the pre-washed, bagged kind.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat and melt the butter. Add the last bit of chopped garlic and let it cook until golden and fragrant. Be careful not to overcook or burn it as that will make it super bitter and you’ll have to start over.
Toss the spinach in the pan and let it wilt for a few seconds, toss to coat with the garlic butter and take off the heat. I love me some freshly grated parmesan on top of the spinach but that’s up to you. It’s yummy either way. Serve that with your easy, healthy fish dinner and you have yourself a restaurant worthy meal in 30 minutes or less!