On those days when you have to get dinner on the table within 20 minutes of getting home from work, turn to this gem of a dish. Bursting with flavor, it uses only two ingredients and one pan…
It can be hard to stick with your program of mindful eating when you’ve had a hard day at work, then had to run errands on the way home, and when you finally arrive at the house and can take your shoes off, everyone’s cranky and hungry. But this dinner is full of flavor and will ease the pain — it takes about 15 minutes to get onto the table, start to end, and won’t disrupt your healthy eating habits.
The fish provides the protein component of the dish, as well as beneficial omega-3 fats. Because of the zesty salsa in the dish, you can use any locally available, sustainably caught wild white fish. No need to buy an expensive variety!
Eating wild caught fish or organic chicken can be part of a plant-based diet. When eating fish, it’s important that you choose wild caught fish, for much the same reasons as you’d choose organic chicken or grass-fed beef. There’s a big difference between wild caught fish and farmed fish!
Many farmed fish are fed genetically modified corn and soy, which reduces the levels of protein and omega-3 fats. Like factory farmed animals, all farmed fish live in cramped conditions, where disease spreads easily among the population. The fish farmers use concentrated antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals to fight the diseases and parasites common to fish farms.
When buying fish, be sure to pick the freshest fillets. (The fresher the fish, the less fishy it will smell. When the fishmonger hands you your purchase, don’t be afraid to give it the sniff test right through the wrapping paper). Ask the fishmonger for a bag of ice to help keep the fish cool until you can get it home. When home, wrap the fish well and keep it on the lowest shelf in the fridge.
Use the fish within a day or so. If you plan to use frozen fish, thaw it in the fridge. Leave to note to remind yourself to take it from the freezer and put it in the fridge the night before you plan to use it. Try not to refreeze fish that’s been frozen once already. The multiple thawings will take a toll on its quality but if you must, use the refrozen fish in a forgiving dish like this one. However, if you thawed the fish on the counter or in hot water, you shouldn’t eat it at all. The USDA cautions against eating any fish thawed in these ways. Bacteria breeds at temperatures between 40 F and 140 F (celsius equivalents). Food thawed on the counter or in hot water will have been in this range for much too long for safety.
Despite concerns about the level of mercury in some fish, you can choose from lower risk fish. Lower risk fish that work well in this recipe are cod, flounder, pollock, tilapia, and scallops. Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. For more information, see this handy wallet card from the National Resources Defense Council.
And don’t feel constrained in your choice of salsa! I usually use a spicy fresh tomato salsa, but I’ve also used mango salsa in this dish. There are many flavors to enjoy, so use whatever appeals to you. If you make your own salsa, you can swap out the tomatoes with pineapple, peaches, or tomatillos, and you can rev up the crunch by adding bell peppers, fresh corn kernels, or radishes. Even with store-bought salsa, you should feel free to experiment and to tweak the salsa by adding salt, vinegar, lime juice, and bottled hot sauce to get the perfect balance that will get your taste buds dancing.