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Smoked Trout Pâté Comes Together Quickly


Smoked Trout Pâté

If you want an easy appetizer or a light summertime salad topper, try this Smoked Trout Pâté, which goes together easily. But don’t get too hung up on the type of fish you use.

“You can make this pâté with any smoked oily fish,” Kate McDonough writes in “The City Cook” (Simon and Schuster, $20). “Trout is usually the easiest to find, but if you can find smoked bluefish, use that instead of the trout because its strong flavor combines well with the other ingredients. For those not familiar with prepared horseradish, it’s sold in refrigerated jars, often near a grocer’s dairy case; if you have a choice between red horseradish, which is tinted with beet juice, or plain white, choose the white.” Also, look for prepared horseradish without sugar. Sweetness is not what this dish is about.

“This spread is nice on small squares of toasted bread, crackers, croutons or thin slices of seedless English cucumber,” McDonough writes.

Smoked Trout Pâté

8 ounces smoked trout or bluefish, skin removed and discarded
1 (8-ounce) package regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 to 4 drops Tabasco or other hot sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons tiny capers, drained

Break up the fish into pieces and place in a food processor equipped with a steel blade. Add the cream cheese and pulse until the fish and cream cheese are combined. Add the horseradish and lemon juice, and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lemon juice or horseradish if necessary. Add the Tabasco, if desired. Add the capers and pulse a few more times until they are mixed throughout.

Spread on crackers, pieces of toasted bread, or thin slices of seedless English cucumbers or use as a dip with crudités. The pâté can be made a day in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator. Just bring it to room temperature when you’re ready to serve so that it’s easy to spread.

Makes 2 cups or enough for about 40 cucumber rounds.

From “The City Cook” by Kate McDonough

 

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Ask a Foodie: Low-carb Salmon Ideas?


Enjoy two low-carbohydrate ways to prepare salmon fillets.

Q. The doctor just put me on a strict low-carb diet, and he told me to eat more fish. Any ideas? I like salmon.

— William G.

A. It’s easy to cut carbohydrates down in many savory dishes without losing flavor (desserts are another matter).  One place to look for low-carb ideas is cookbooks that cater to diabetics. That’s where the two salmon recipes below originated. They are from the new “The Diabetes Seafood Cookbook” by Barbara Seelig-Brown (American Diabetes Association, $18.95). But beware: Not all of the recipes are low-carb, so read the nutritional analysis before cooking.

The two recipes were chosen from an entire chapter on salmon because they are made in two different ways. One is grilled, the other is poached. That way, you can vary your method and still keep your carb count low.

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 lemons
1 pound thick salmon fillet, skinless, cut into 4 portions
2 teaspoons salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
2 pounds thin asparagus, ends broken off and placed in a bowl of water

Place olive oil in a small sauté pan. Add garlic and heat until garlic becomes fragrant, about 2 mintues. Add basil and turn heat off. Whisk in lemon juice. Set aside.

Sprinkle salmon with lemon pepper seasoning. Set aside.

Preheat grill pan for a few minutes. Drain asparagus and place on grill pan. Cover and roast asparagus for 3 minutes, shaking occasionally. Remove cover. Brush salmon with lemon garlic bath. Place ont he grill pan. cook first side until a nice crust forms. Turn and cook second side. if you want your salmon well done, the lid can be placed on the grill pan.

Place asparagus on a serving plate. Top with salmon. Drizzle with lemon garlic bath. Additional lemon garlic bath can be stored for future use.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 300 calories, 17 g fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 29 g protein.

From “The Diabetes Seafood Cookbook” by Barbara Seelig-Brown

Lemony Poached Salmon with a Fennel, Onion and Olive Salad

1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into 4 portions
Juice of 1 lemon
Water to cover salmon

Salad:
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel tops
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted olives
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
4 cups red leaf lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 lemon, sliced for garnish

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon capers

Prepare pan for poaching. Place salmon in pan. Add lemon juice and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until it flakes with a fork.

Place fennel tops, onion, olives, cucumber and lettuce in a large bowl.

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Add capers. pour half of the dressing over the salad greens. Toss. Save the rest of the dressing to use with another salad.

Place salad on plate and top with salmon. Garnish with lemon slices.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 230 calories, 12 g fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar, 25 protein.

From “The Diabetes Seafood Cookbook” by Barbara Seelig-Brown

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Scrod with Lemon-Garlic Bread Crumbs


Use lemon juice in this baked fish dish and serve it with lemon wedges.

If you prefer baked fish to fried, try this easy-to-assemble dish that features scrod. You could also use cod or haddock, if you prefer. What is scrod, you might ask?  This is young cod (0r haddock) weighing less than two-and-a-half pounds.

Scrod with Lemon-Garlic Bread Crumbs

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (about 2 slices bread)
4 pieces scrod, cod or haddock fillets (about 6 ounces each)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic; cook until golden. Add bread crumbs, and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove skillet from heat.

With tweezers; remove any bones from scrod. In 9-by-13-inch baking dish, arrange fillets in single layer; sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Press bread crumb mixture onto fillets. Bake until fish is just opaque throughout, 10 to 15 minutes.

Sprinkle scrod with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate nutritional value: 231 calories, 32 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat,, 89 mg cholesterol, 517 mg sodium.

From “The Good Housekeeping Cookbook”

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A Treat for Cinco de Mayo


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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Beto’s Comida Latina: Reel in the Fish Tacos


betos5

Food: 3.5
Service: 3
Value: 3.5

Rating scale:
5: Extraordinary
4: Excellent
3: Good
2: Fair
1: Poor

Where to have lunch? The car knew the moment it turned onto Broadway: Beto’s Comida Latina.

The fish tacos, the empanadas, the quesadillas – all seemed to be calling me. So, a friend and I turned into the parking lot and turned on to the best meal I have had there in ages.

I have always enjoyed going to Beto’s. The casual atmosphere of the dining room, a few longnecks and the patio out back (too hot for our current heat, but great in the fall), the Latin fare that goes beyond Tex-Mex to embrace Central and South American cuisines. But my last couple of visits were average, nothing to get worked up about.

I’m glad to see that has changed. Most everything we had at that lunch was marked by a welcome vibrancy, from the fresh ingredients to the steaming hot nature of the food itself, that was nearly irresistible.

betos1The fish tacos were the special that day, with a pair and a salad arriving for $5.99. Don’t pass this by if you can. Our version flirted with perfection. The cilantro coleslaw on top was fresh and crunchy, the poblano sauce creamy with just the right amount of bite, and the grilled fish juicy and plentiful. There was a slight bit of water coming from the tacos, but it didn’t affect the flavor.

It also didn’t affect the hold that great fish tacos have. For some reason, this dish has never caught on in San Antonio as well as it should. So, we should be extra thankful that Beto’s, among other places, has cultivated a devoted following for them. For those of us who love them, their hold is as gripping as the latest John Lescroart or Michael Connelly mystery.

The accompanying salad was topped with pickled red onions and slices of jícama, which added two contrasting yet complementary textures to the crisp romaine.

A spinach and mushroom quesadilla bore no trace of the promised chipotle, and it didn’t really need it. Who needs more when you have soft spinach leaves and mushrooms melting into one with the corn tortilla thanks to a judicious amount of cheese.

betos4A sauté of fresh vegetables, ranging from squashes and tomatoes to eggplant and sweet potato, with a sprinkling of queso fresco on top, made a substantial side dish and a nice balance to the carbohydrates from the tortillas. (Beto’s, ever attentive to people’s dietary needs, offers low-carb options as well as gluten-free dishes. Ask your server.)

But you can’t go low-carb and enjoy Beto’s signature dish, its flaky empanadas, made with puff pastry. From a choice list of savory fillings, including chicken poblano and beef and red chile, the calabacita con puerco called, and it proved an excellent choice with its stew of squash and pork with a touch of sweet corn.

I heeded the call once again when the waiter mentioned mango-rhubarb among the dessert options. The luscious sweet-tart nature of the fruit a good foil for the buttery pastry.

Give in to such calls every once in a while. You could be as amply rewarded as we were at Beto’s.

betos3betos2

Beto’s Comida Latina
8142 Broadway
(210) 930-9393
Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday
$-$$

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