There are probably hundreds or thousands of variations of this easy Mediterranean fish stew. In San Francisco, they add shellfish and clam juice or fish stock and call it cioppino. Sicilians make it with sea bass or orange roughy. The Greeks use dill and potatoes, while the Portuguese add sausage.
This particular version has tomatoes, potatoes, and some citrus zest. I adapted it from a New York Times recipe (which made a big pot of stew, enough for 6 people, and included the dreaded anchovies). I also threw in some mushrooms (mostly because I wanted to use them up). There’s no shellfish, and I made it with cod (which is more sustainable and budget-friendly than orange roughy or sea bass). I also swapped the chopped tomatoes they called for with tomato puree (that’s what I had, and it cooks faster).
There are two nice things about this recipe. The first is that it’s super-easy to make. Just make the stew, and then add the fish at the very end. Don’t overcook it!
The second is that you can make it in advance up to the point where you add the fish. When you’re ready to eat, reheat the stew and add the fish once it’s hot.
This week’s recipe was going to be something else, but then I realized I hadn’t defrosted it.Oops. No matter, this Indian fish fillet in yogurt sauce recipe will do quite nicely instead.You’ll just have to wait for the other recipe!
This is adapted from The Wednesday Chef , who in turn adapted it from Madhur Joffrey.Since the amounts are smaller, you don’t have to heat up the oven. You can make this in the toaster oven instead. It heats up more quickly and it’s easier to clean too!
All you have to do is lightly fry some onions, pour them onto a tray, season and mix the yogurt, and then pour all of that over the fish.
It’s maybe ten minutes of prep, and 20 minutes of baking.While it bakes, pour yourself a glass of wine or a beer or make some rice to go with it. Or both.
You end up with a rich, creamy sauce that tastes indulgent (but isn’t, since it’s yogurt, not cream). So no need to feel guilty after the holidays.
The garam masala, ginger, and cumin add a bit of bite, but not too much (unless you want it spicier, of course). It’s pretty easy and approachable for Indian food.
Fish Fillets in Yogurt Sauce, creamy indulgence without any guilt.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly
1/2 pound cod (or haddock or halibut) fillet
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
generous pinch garam masala
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger*
1 T butter (optional)
Remove the tray from your toaster oven. Start by preheating the toaster oven to 350. While that’s warming up, heat the oil in a small skillet. Then add the sliced onion. Cook that until you can see through the slices. This should take about five minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the onions from the pan and scatter them over the toaster oven tray. Cut the fish into small pieces (about 2 inches) and arrange the pieces over the onions on the tray.
Take a small bowl and mix together the remaining ingredients (except the butter). If the mixture is too thick, thin it out with a teaspoon or two of water. Pour that over the fish and the onions and stir it around to cover the fish completely on both sides.
Cover the tray with foil, place it in the hot toaster oven and cook for about 20 minutes. The fish is done when it’s white and flakes easily with a fork.
If you want a thicker sauce, pour the sauce from the tray into a small saucepan, heat it to boiling, and then slowly add the butter.
* I grated the ginger using my microplane. If you don't have one, just use a cheese grater.
Substitutions and Variations for Indian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce
Add some curry to the sauce for more kick
Try pan frying the fish (about three-five minutes per side); add the yogurt sauce at the end, off the heat so it doesn’t curdle
There are some nights when you want dinner and you want it quick. This easy tuna curry can be made in just a few minutes. Just cut up a bit of onion, chop some garlic, grate some ginger, and open a can of tuna. Yes, canned tuna.
If you make extra rice in advance (as I usually do), you just have to heat that up and you have dinner. It’s curry in a hurry.
I adapted this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. Her recipe made two or three servings, which I have reduced. She calls for fresh chopped cilantro (which I never have, so I used a bit of dried coriander, which is the same thing). If you do have the fresh version, use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons.
I have simplified the preparation a bit. Rather than slicing the onions into rounds, I chopped them. I grated the ginger with my microplane zester, instead of slicing it into strips; I didn’t want to bite down on big hunks of ginger! Besides, this way is faster.
I seem to be making a virtual trip around the Mediterranean. This week, instead of Israel, we’ve “landed” in Greece. This recipe for Greek fish with lemon and tomatoes is adapted from a recipe in The New York Times.
The Times recipe is good, but a bit too fiddly and time consuming. It also requires a whole fish. That’s generally too much food for one person. And, it has to be cleaned, then stuffed, and finally baked. Probably delicious, but too much trouble. So, I decided to make it easier and faster and used fish fillets instead.
Plus, the original recipe requires that you cook the tomatoes. I love fresh tomatoes, and tomato sauces, but don’t like the taste of freshly-cooked tomatoes. So, I simplified everything and added the tomatoes just at the end.
In my version, you make the marinade, leave out the tomatoes, and let it sit for a bit so the flavors combine. Then season the fish fillet, pour the marinade over it, and cook it. Add the tomatoes at the end, and serve. Also, I didn’t make it in the oven (too hot!). I grilled the fish in a pan instead.
A fast and healthy tilapia recipe with lemon and tomatoes.
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
generous pinch of hot pepper flakes or 1/4 tsp chopped fresh jalapeño
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound fish fillet (like tilapia or cod)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to season the fish
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (or use cherry tomatoes and slice them in half)
Combine the olive oil with the lemon juice, hot pepper, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl or a ziplock plastic bag.
Let the marinade sit for 15 or 20 minutes.
Season the fish with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Add the fish and the marinade to a small frying pan and cook, about four minutes per side.
When the fish is almost cooked, pour in the chopped tomatoes. Leave them in for two or three seconds, just to get them warmed up slightly.
The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
Remove fish with a flexible spatula and serve.
Greek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes Substitutions and Variations
Follow this suggestion from the comments of the original recipe: fry the fish for a minute or two with olive oil. Then add the marinade, a splash or two of white wine, and simmer (covered) for 5-10 minutes.
If you don’t mind cooked tomatoes, add them to the marinade at the beginning.
Try cod instead of tilapia. Or, use a small whole trout.
If you want more lemon flavor, slice some lemon and squeeze it over the fish.
Add some olives or capers to the marinade.
Add 1/4 C sliced zucchini to the pan when you start cooking the fish.
Salmon with Greek yogurt dill sauce is a great combination. The piquancy of the Greek yogurt complements the rich flavor of the fish beautifully. The pinch of mustard gives it a bit of a bite, without overwhelming the rest of the dish.
The other great thing about this dinner is that it’s quick and easy to make. Just mix a few simple ingredients for the sauce (which uses ingredients you probably already have, so no need for a special trip to the grocery store), season the salmon, and put the fish in the oven while the sauce flavors combine.
I’ve written the recipe for a toaster oven (since I don’t want to heat up the whole apartment), but you can make this in a standard oven too. Or, if you’re really pressed for time (or very hungry), you can cook it in your microwave. If you do, once the sauce is made and the fish is seasoned, you can have dinner in 6 minutes.
It’s a quick meal that looks (and tastes) like you cooked for hours. And, it’s easy to scale this up and serve it when you have company.
If you have the time, do let the sauce sit for a while before you cook everything else. It really does improve the flavor.
I served the salmon with some jasmine rice (which is my new favorite rice), the rest of the cucumber I used for the sauce (fresh from the farmer’s market), and some beautiful, ripe Jersey tomatoes.
It’s a great summer meal because it’s light, doesn’t require a lot of fussing, and it’s ready in a few minutes. And, since you’re cooking the dish in foil, there’s one less thing to wash when you’re finished (which is always a bonus, as far as I’m concerned).
Add all the sauce ingredients (using half the cucumber) to a small bowl and mix together. It's best if it sits for an hour or two so that the flavors blend together. If you don't have the time (or you're really hungry), just let it sit while you cook the salmon.
If you're letting the sauce marinate, wait forty minutes and then start the salmon. If not, then start once you've finished mixing the sauce.
Heat your toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Place the salmon skin side down on a sheet of aluminum foil. Pour the wine over the fish, add the bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the fish in the foil and place it on the toaster oven's baking tray. Cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on how thick your salmon fillet is. The fish is done when it's an even pale pink color.
Serve with the sauce and top with the remaining cucumber.
If you're in a hurry, you can also cook the salmon in a microwave. Place the fish on a microwave proof plate. Add the wine, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Microwave 4-6 minutes.
If you don't have an open bottle of white wine, you can use chicken stock instead.
You get home from work, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and you’re thinking, “How can I make a quick dinner for one that won’t take forever to cook?” You open the refrigerator, and stare inside, hoping for inspiration. You’re tempted to go for fast food, or reach for the menu from the pizza place.
Skip the takeout and make one of these quick dinner recipes for one person instead. They’re all a single serving, but you can make enough for two, save the rest, and reheat it a day or two later (then you get dinner in 2 minutes!).
Most of these recipes take about 20 minutes to cook. Cut up some fruit, heat some rice (I always make extra), make a quick salad, or grab some crusty bread, and you’ve got dinner!
1 chicken breast (or thigh) 1/2 egg (beaten)* flour for dredging salt/pepper to taste 1/4 tsp. dried tarragon pinch mustard powder 2T olive oil 1/2 C frozen broccoli 1/2 C. portobello mushrooms 4 T chicken broth
1. Season flour with tarragon, mustard, salt and pepper. 2. Dip chicken in beaten egg, then in flour mixture. 3. Cut the chicken into thin strips, about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide. 4. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook a minute or two. Add the broccoli, then the chicken broth, and the chicken. Cook stirring about 1-2 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Get in and out of the kitchen quickly with tasty food that’s easy to prepare. Add some bread, maybe some wine, and you’re done. Note that these are (as the author notes), not “formal recipes, but outlines.” Follow along, adapt, or mix and match as it suits you.
Start with a French chef and you know the food will be good. His version of fast food has no Big Macs in sight. Instead, you’ll get sweet potato chowder, oven baked salmon with sun-dried tomato and salsa mayonnaise.
Mark Bittman is the king of quick and easy cooking. Many of the recipes don’t even require measuring. The book is divided by seasons; 101 dishes for each one. He’s got Latin, Creole, Caribbean and Asian flavors, including pasta jambalaya, Korean barbecued beef, and white bean stew.
The name pretty much says it all. It’s got over 1,000 recipes made with ingredients that are easy to find. This book uses everyday ingredients, tells you what’s in season, and organizes the recipes by both types of foods and meals. Great if you’ve got some fish and don’t know what to do with it.
Before Rachel Ray, there was Eduard de Pomaine. This cookbook shows you how to make veal, beef, fish, desserts, and even soups in only a few minutes. And, it’s funny and well-written.
Yes, it was written long ago, but the translators have kindly included instructions on updating it for the modern kitchen (if it took 10 minutes chopping by hand, imagine what you can do with a mini-chopper!)
This single serving of pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter sauce is quick, easy, and delicious. I was never a big fish fan growing up, but I’ve grown to like it as I have gotten older. If you’re a bit wary of fish, tilapia is a good “starter fish.” It has a mild flavor and doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds (or your kitchen).
I got the idea from someone who said she made tilapia with butter, lemon, and rosemary. I thought that sounded good, but that it would be even better with some olive oil and mustard powder (it was).
You can put the whole thing together and have dinner on the table in less than fifteen minutes. Make the fish, steam (or zap) some veggies and you’re good to go.
I made this recently (just as spring is finally showing signs of arriving, after a truly nasty winter), but it would be great in the summer when you want something fast. There’s no need to heat the stove or the oven for an hour.
By the way, the fish came from Trader Joe’s. They have great frozen fish. The tilapia was in a package with individually-wrapped fillets. Normally, I don’t like extra packaging, but in this case it was perfect, since I only had to defrost one fillet, instead of the entire bag.
A quick fish dinner for one with lemon, a bit of mustard, and rosemary.
1 T olive oil
1 tsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 pinch mustard powder
1 tilapia filet
healthy squeeze lemon juice (preferably fresh)
Heat the olive oil and the butter in a small frying pan. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the tilapia with the mustard and rosemary on both sides. Add it to the pan. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish. Cook until done, about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on how thick the fish fillet is). It should be lightly colored, but no longer pink.
Serve immediately, before the fish gets cold. I steamed some Trader Joe's string frozen beans and cut up some fresh carrots to serve with it. I felt so healthy and virtuous.
Substitutions and Variations for Pan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce
If you don’t have tilapia, use another mild, white fish such as cod, flounder, or Dover sole
Swap the rosemary for some capers
Skip the mustard and the rosemary and use dill instead