A Fish Dish Priced Right

The first time food sticker-shock hit me was in fall 2007 at a butcher where I saw Japanese Kobe beef that cost $150.00 a pound. How outrageous, I thought, never expecting ordinary eggs to soon cost up to $4.00 a dozen and milk to climb to almost $5.00 a gallon.

It seems everything at the market has soared in price. The cost of fish has risen substantially, particularly if you want to eat seafood several times a week, as is recommended by health experts. With the price of wild salmon and halibut painfully high, farmed trout, tilapia and catfish are choices that can help you pinch your pennies. Those of you who live near the water are the luckiest – local catch sold at farmers’ markets is usually quite reasonably priced.

Still, the ubiquitous rise in food costs calls for stretching every dollar by making dishes that use high-cost ingredients sparingly. Looking at ethnic recipes is a good way to get ideas for this because so many cultures use meat, poultry and even local seafood as luxuries, often together with legumes or a whole grain as well as vegetables. As it happens, most of these cultures tend to suffer less from heart disease, diabetes and cancer, making what is good for the budget good for the body, too.

Moroccan cooking is a great source for these ideas, particularly its tagines. These stews are easy to make and provide intense flavor and color. This recipe, for example, pairs cod with chickpeas in a highly seasoned tomato sauce to create an unexpected and delicious combination.

The beans add bulk to the dish, which provides a modest three ounces of fish per serving, while liberal amounts of paprika, cumin and ginger surround these milder foods with spicy flavor.

Moroccan Cod with Chickpeas - Makes 4 servings.

* 1 (28 oz.) can unsalted whole plum tomatoes
* 1 medium onion, halved and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch crescents
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 tsp. ground sweet paprika
* 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
* 1 tsp. sugar
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaved
* 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* Ground black pepper, to taste
* 3/4 pound cod or scrod, cut into 8 pieces
* 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

One at a time, take tomatoes from can. Holding each over medium, deep skillet, crush tomatoes by hand, letting flesh squeeze through fingers into pan. Reserve 1/4 cup liquid remaining in can.

Add onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, ginger and sugar to pan. Over medium-high heat, bring tomatoes to simmer, stirring to combine all ingredients. Mix in cilantro, parsley, salt and generous pinch of pepper. Cover, and simmer sauce over medium-low heat until tomatoes are soft, 15 minutes.

Add the fish and chickpeas, pushing into sauce. If sauce seems dry, pour 1/4 cup of reserved canned tomato juices. Cover, and simmer gently until fish is opaque white in center and flakes easily, and chickpeas are heated through, 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 220 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 30 g carbohydrate, 23 g protein, 7 g dietary fiber, 390 mg sodium.

The Author:

“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.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

Article Source: Aicr.org

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