Some days I don’t feel like cooking. At. All. You probably know the days – the ones when you’re tired, it’s hot, and you lack motivation to do anything in the kitchen that will take much effort, but you also want to eat something that is relatively healthy and light.
Today was one of those days.
Catfish, an affordable and sustainable choice according to Seafood Watch, isn’t on everybody’s favorite fish list…probably because its flavor and smell are stronger than those of other white fish. The trick to taming this fish is to let it sit in some citrus juice for 15 to 20 minutes before you cook it – just enough time to enjoy a glass of wine or decompress from the day a bit.
When you’re ready, simply pan-poach the fish in the juice (it is easier than it sounds) and serve it with whatever salad greens or fresh vegetables you have on hand. I used arugula, avocado, and a spoonful of the fresh-made salsa I got from the Mexican grocery down the street. My husband ate his fish in a corn tortilla with shredded cabbage and a squeeze of lime.
Oh, and if you really don’t like catfish, just substitute a white fish you do like. You can also use this pan-poaching technique with salmon. Voila! A quick, delicious, and deceivingly simple healthy dinner idea.
How to make pan-poached white fish (note: recipe follows)
1. Marinate the fish in fresh-squeezed orange juice (or lime if you have that instead)
2. Sear fish on both sides and then add remaining orange juice to pan (along with optional add-ins like garlic, cilantro, or chili flakes) and cover.
3. Serve with your favorite sides.
- 1 orange, juiced
- ½ pound of US farmed catfish
- Olive oil or your preferred cooking fat
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: You can sprinkle chili flakes, fresh cilantro, and/or minced garlic into the poaching liquid for additional flavor.
- Place fish filet (cut into serving size pieces) in a bowl. Pour fresh-squeezed orange juice over it, shake it up a bit, and then let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan to medium high temperature. When ready, add a bit of olive oil and coat the bottom of the pan.
- Place the fish filet in the pan and sear it (about 45 seconds) and then flip it over to sear on the other side. Pour the orange juice over the fish. Note: if you want to include the optional ingredients, stir them into the orange juice before adding the liquid to the pan).
- Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until center of filet is flakey and opaque white.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve on a bed of greens or with your favorite side dish.
What is your go-to, healthy-without-hassle meal?