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Something Different
Week of: July 16, 2012
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Lemon and Pepper Make Perfect Fish

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

The best summer cooking, perhaps just the best cooking, is simple. Delicious goes without saying.

The easy way to hit these marks is by starting with the best local ingredients. However, fish is often an exception I make to using local ingredients.

Fortunately, thanks to fish farming in various parts of the United States, there is increasingly more local choice. Barramundi, a mild and meaty fish originally from Australia is now farmed in western Massachusetts, for example, close enough to qualify as local for New England cooks. Some tilapia comes from Virginia and Arkansas. (Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Watch declares all domestically raised tilapia a Best Choice.) And last week, I bought orata (aka sea bream and daurade), farmed on Long Island about two hours from New York City. It was the freshest, sweetest, best fish I have ever had short of catching it myself.

Trout is a great fish to cook simply. Cannot catch your own? Trout is farmed in about 25 states, including small producers who bring their fish to local farmers markets.

To see how good a simple dish can be – there are 4 ingredients and prep time is 5 minutes – try this trout seasoned liberally with black pepper, topped with lemon slices and baked in your oven or on the outdoor grill.

The thin lemon slices and pepper create true lemon-pepper flavor. I recommend using organic lemons if you can and slicing them thinly using your sharpest knife. On an outdoor grill, be sure to use indirect heat.

Lemon Baked Trout

Lemon Baked Trout

  • Olive or canola oil cooking spray
  • 4 (4 oz.) trout filets, with skin
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 - 3 lemons, Meyer if available

Set rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Or, preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium-hot and prepare it for cooking with indirect heat.

Lay large sheet of heavy-duty foil over large baking sheet. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Arrange trout filets on foil, spacing about 1-inch apart and leaving at least 2 inches around edges. Coat fish lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle each filet with a pinch of salt and 5 or 6 grinds of pepper.

Using sharp knife, cut off an end of a lemon. Cut lemon into the thinnest possible slices. Using the tip of the knife, flick the seeds out of each slice. Arrange 3-4 lemon slices down the center of each trout filet, overlapping them slightly. Lay another sheet of foil over fish and roll edges together to seal fish.

Bake trout for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily at thickest point. (If using an outdoor grill, slide packet with fish onto grill and later slide it back onto baking sheet to help lift off grill.)

To serve, transfer each filet to a dinner plate. Encourage diners to eat lemon slices with the fish.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 170 calories, 6 g fat (2 g sat fat), 7 g carbohydrates,
24 g protein 3 g fiber, 42 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.


Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at www.aicr.org.


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