Tuesday, October 14, 2008

O Sole Mio! And it's gluten-free!

I’ve never been a big fan of fish. I know the benefits of eating fish over red meat and I know the benefits of keeping the greatest possible variety in one’s diet. So, though not a fish eater by nature, I have been making a real effort to learn to like various fish dishes.

Now, while I don’t really love fish, I do love potato chips. Yes, I already know the potential problems of this particular passion but I maintain that you can eat all things in moderation. Some just need to be a lot more moderate than others and potato chips would fall into that category. Since I do love the salty crunch of chips and I know it can be used as a coating for baked meats, I figured it was a great way to make fish more appealing to me. Let me tell you, it really worked! Even my son liked it (he’s not a big fish eater, either) and ate it cheerfully. Additionally, using potato chips as a coating kept the fish moist, added a lot of flavor, was insanely simple and was entirely gluten-free.

Here’s what you need to do this:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F
Filets of flounder – at least one per person
Vinegar and Salt potato chips
1 qt. zip closure baggie
Baking dish or cookie sheet – if it is not non-stick, you can line it with foil or parchment paper or coat very lightly with oil

Fill the zip closure bag with potato chips, close and crush. This is good fun and an excellent way to relieve stress. This is also a job the kids can do. Give them a large wooden spoon and a flat work space and let them go nuts.

Empty the chip crumbs onto a dinner plate. Rinse the fillets and gently coat them with the chips. The chips won’t stick really tightly and you are unlikely to get a thick coating but this is fine. Pat the chips onto the fish and you can add the leftover crumbs once the fillets are in the pan.

Once the fish is coated and you’ve patted any extra crumbs onto the fish in the pan, bake for about 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. This was really good served with a green salad and steamed edamame but it would be very nice with some baked squash, I think. Whatever sides excite you should work very well.

Now for the variations. I chose vinegar and salt chips for a taste reminiscent of fish and chips with malt vinegar. However, you can choose any flavor you like. If you are concerned about sodium, choose low salt chips. If potatoes are a problem for you, try one of the varieties and flavors of corn chips.

This is a terrific meal for a busy weekday evening. It’s quick, simple, flavorful and an enormous improvement over fast food. The flavor of the chips will make it appealing even to the kids. It’s a win all around.

So, let’s go eat that!