It is not easy keeping up with fish. Which are overfished? Which are plentiful? Which are full of mercury? Which are line caught? Which are farmed?
When I passed along this recipe to my daughter, I suggested she replace the tilapia, as most of it now comes from China and Taiwan, where pollution and other problems make it a fish to avoid, according to the experts at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
I suggested halibut as an alternative, but then I saw the price, $26.99 a pound. Yikes. Halibut is overfished and those line-caught Alaskan beauties cost a fortune. Sorry, Sally!
For inexperienced cooks, rule of thumb: If the price is that steep, sub another fish. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website is a great, easily searchable database that will help you eat fish guilt-free. Also, don’t be afraid to ask at the seafood counter.
I ended up buying cod, which was much more reasonable at $12.99 a pound, and also gets good marks for sustainability.
This recipe orginated from Laura Kaplan, chef at the Emerald Fish in Cherry Hill, which is now closed. We made a very similar version during a cooking class on a vacation in Tuscany. It added onions and tomatoes on top of the fish and used olive oil instead of butter. Experiment with herbs and fish and see what appeals to you.
Baked Cod With Lemon, Herbs and Wine
Makes 4 servings
2 red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
4 carrots, sliced into thin strips
2 zucchini, sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup white wine
2 teaspoons fresh basil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
4 teaspoons butter
2 lemons, sliced into rounds
4 6-ounce cod fillets
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss sliced red bell pepper, carrots, and zucchini with half of the herbs, white wine; salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Lay out four 14-inch sheets of aluminum foil. In left center of each, place a quarter of the chopped vegetables, then top with a cod fillet.
4. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Top each with one teaspoon butter. Lay lemon slices on top, slightly overlapping.
5. Fold over foils to form envelopes. Begin in one corner folding over to seal the fish.
6. Place on cookie sheet in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Slice open foils and serve immediately. Fish will be flaky and moist to the touch.
— Adapted from Chef Laura Kaplan, formerly of Emerald Fish restaurant in Cherry Hill.
Per serving: 300 calories, 41 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams sugar, 6 grams fat, 104 milligrams cholesterol, 216 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.