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A Treat for Cinco de Mayo

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Grill fish in a basket.

Looking for a new way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or merely enjoy grilled fish? Then check out this easy, yet low-calorie dish from celebrated grill master Steven Raichlen, who will be in San Antonio on May 24 for a fund-raiser benefiting KLRN. (Click here for details.)

“You may not find this dish in traditional Mexican cookbooks,” Raichlen writes in “High-Flavor, Low-Fat Mexican Cooking,” “but the flavors of the simply grilled fish served with a silken salsa of avocado, chiles and fried garlic are as ancient as the country itself. I’ve called for snapper here, but you can really use any fish. For ease in turning the fish on the grill, cook it in a wire fish basket.”

Grilled Snapper with Avocado Sauce

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless snapper fillets
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

For the salsa:
1 poblano chile
1 jalapeño
1/2 medium white onion, cut in half
5 cloves garlic (2 cloves peeled, 3 cloves peeled and thinly sliced), divided use
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small or 1/2 large avocado, peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup no-fat sour cream
1/2 cup water, fish broth or bottled clam juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste

Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and sprinkle with garlic. Arrange the fillets in a baking dish and pour the orange and grapefruit juices over them. Marinate for 1 hour, turning once or twice.

Meanwhile, prepare the salsa. Heat a comal or cast-iron skillet over a medium-high heat. Roast the chiles, onion and the 2 peeled garlic cloves until nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes for the poblano and onion, 4 to 6 minutes for the jalapeño and the garlic. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Seed the chiles.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Fry the sliced garlic until it is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let it burn. Drain the fried garlic in a strainer.

Place the roasted chiles, onion and garlic in a blender with the avocado, chopped cilantro, cumin, sour cream, water or fish broth, and lime juice. Purée until smooth, adding water as needed to obtain a thick but pourable sauce. Correct the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and lime juice to taste. Add the fried garlic and pulse the blender just to mix.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the fish in a fish basket sprayed with cooking spray oil. Grill the fish until it’s cooked to taste, about 4 minutes per side. Arrange the fish fillets on places or a platter and pour the salsa over them. Garnish with cilantro sprig and serve at once.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis: 290 calories per serving, 36 g protein, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 118 mg sodium, 62 mg cholesterol.

From “High-Flavor, Low-Fat Mexican Cooking” by Steven Raichlen

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