….When The Boat Comes In…
I simply love this old traditional English folk song, originally from the North East of England. I’m not from the North East but often sing this song when cooking fish for supper (much to everyone’s mirth). I remember it from my childhood; a TV ad for Young’s Fish; and also from the BBC drama series ‘When the Boat Comes in’ from the 1970’s (give-away there on age I think). As I recall the ditty went something like this…
Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy,
Thou shall hev a fishy when the boat comes in.
It seems apt for bariatrics – we want fishy (for its protein and nutrition); its great flavour; easy-eating and cooking; and certainly on a little dishy (how about on the bariatric portion plate?).
So here’s our fishy on a little dishy:
SEA BASS WITH RATATOUILLE SAUCE
This recipe uses sea bass fillets but it is so versatile – you can use sea bream, red mullet or salmon fillets instead. Indeed it works well with just about any white or oily fish fillet that you like, is on special offer or takes your fancy. Timings for cooking of the fish will vary of course – thicker fillets taking up to twice as long as the thin sea bass fillets in the recipe below. Salmon will also take a little longer to cook than sea bass. Cook until the fish just flakes easily when tested with the tip of a knife but don’t cook until too dry, toughened and indigestible.
As a variation I also sometimes add a drained can of beans to the vegetable mixture – butter beans are good (great for additional protein) and have tried adding a handful of spinach leaves at the last minute and cooking until just wilted which also works very well.
Serve on your own little dishy – the Bariatric Portion Plate for perfect portion control.
4 x 100 g/4 oz raw sea bass fillets
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives or thyme for example)
low-fat cooking spray or mist
2 red or yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium aubergine/egg plant, cut into chunks
2 courgettes/zucchini, sliced or chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
12 cherry tomatoes, whole if small or halved if larger
100 ml/generous 1/2 cup vegetable stock/bouillon (or more a little more if you prefer a juicier sauce)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put the sea bass (or chosen fish) in a shallow dish, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and herbs. Turn to coat and leave to marinate while making the ratatouille sauce.
2. Heat a large pan and spritz with low-fat spray or mist. Add the onions and garlic, stir to coat, cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for 5-6 minutes.
3. Add the aubergine/egg plant, courgettes/zucchini, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes and stock/bouillon. Cook, over a low heat, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Season to taste.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the grill/broiler and cook the sea bass fillets for 4-6 minutes, turning once and basting occasionally with the herby lemon mixture, until the fish is tender and flakes easily. Serve the cooked sea bass with or on the ratatouille mixture.
WLS PORTION: 1/2-3/4
CALORIES PER PORTION: 200
VARIATION: If liked add the drained beans from a 400g/14 oz can butterbeans to the ratatouille mixture at the end of cooking and heat through for 1-2 minutes. This increases the Calories to 225; the Protein to 26.6g; the Carbohydrate to 19.2g; and the Fat to 5g – but does make a more substantial meal for family members or those who can tolerate a larger portion (without weight gain).
Salmon with Chunky Ratatouille (recipe here)