When you are tired of the heavy cooking of the cold months but it is too early for the outdoor grilling of summer, steaming is a good cooking transition as winter turns to spring.

Steaming is a traditional Chinese cooking technique that uses gentle heat instead of oil to cook foods. So it is a good way to make low-fat, low-calorie entrees.

Steaming keeps vegetables crunchy and brightly colored, and helps avoid overcooking fish. It also protects water-soluble nutrients that would otherwise be lost during boiling.

All you need to steam fish is a deep saucepan, Dutch oven, pressure cooker, roasting pan, or wok. The pot should be wide enough to hold a heat-proof plate on which all the ingredients can be placed in a single layer, and deep enough so that the plate is elevated at least an inch above enough water to simmer until the food is cooked.

Health experts recommend fish as the best animal protein alternative to red meat. It is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are so important to our health.

Numerous studies suggest that a predominantly plant-based diet is linked to long-term health. The phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins in plant foods seem to bolster the body's defenses against cancer, heart disease and stroke.

And to go with your steamed fish, why not steam a variety of colorful and healthful vegetables? We recommend gradually making the transition to a plate that contains 2/3 (or more) vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans to one-third (or less) animal protein. A spring dinner of steamed fish with yogurt dill sauce is a good place to start.

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Steamed Fish with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, divided
  • 1-1/2 lb. firm-fleshed fish fillet, (e.g. halibut, cod, or salmon) cut in 4 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup low-fat, plain yogurt
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 orange or yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped (green part included)
  • 1 large lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together oil, chives, basil and half the dill. Rub mixture into both sides of fish, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Mix remaining dill with yogurt and set sauce aside.
  3. In a deep-rimmed serving dish large enough to hold the fish and broth, arrange bell peppers and scallions evenly along bottom. Place fish on top. Arrange lemon slices on top of fish. Add broth. Place in microwave and cook at medium power, checking every few minutes, until fish flakes with a fork.
  4. Remove from microwave and garnish with remaining dill. Serve with yogurt-dill sauce.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
293 calories
11 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat)
9 g. carbohydrate
38 g. protein
2 g. dietary fiber
176 mg. sodium


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