Rush Hour

Doctors tell us that we should get more seafood in our diets ... and that doesn't mean more deep-fried fish fingers. What's a health-conscious, busy person to do?

Why not turn to this month's recipe? It's a quick meal that gives you fish with a crunchy topping that's not fried and a ragout to serve it with that will even give you a serving of vegetables too. And it's bursting with the unique flavor of smoked paprika ... once you try it, you'll be adding it to your regular weekday menus and looking forward to having fish.

You can tweak the vegetables in the ragout to suit your tastes and what you happen to have on hand. If tomatoes are ripe in the garden, skip the tomato paste and add some finely diced fresh tomato instead. If red peppers are more readily available than yellow, go for it. If you have yellow squash in your refrigerator instead of zucchini, try that instead. After all, what good is a quick weekday recipe if you have to make a special trip to the grocery store just to make it? Be creative and enjoy your rush hour!

Panko-Crusted Cod with Smoky Vegetable Ragout

For the fish:
  • 2 lbs. cod fillets -- about 4 generous fillets
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
For the ragout:
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini -- diced
  • 1 yellow pepper -- diced
  • 1 green pepper -- diced
  • 1 medium onion -- diced
  • 2 T. white wine
  • 2 T. sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1-2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3-4 green onions -- thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle them evenly with the paprika, kosher salt and black pepper. Spray the fillets lightly with the cooking spray, set them on a baking sheet and sprinkle them evenly with the bread crumbs. Lightly spray the crumbs to help them set on the fillets. Place the fish in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

While the fish is baking, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the zucchini, peppers and onion. Sauté until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir frequently, cooking until a soft, chunky sauce forms.

To serve, place each fillet on a serving plate and garnish with generous dollops of the ragout. If desired, serve the fish over a bed of roasted potatoes or steamed rice.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at .