Spice up Lenten fish with salsa

  • Article by: MARLENE PARRISH , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Updated: April 9, 2014 - 2:07 PM
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Salmon pairs well with strawberry salsa and spicy spinach. (Susan M. Selasky/Detroit Free Press/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1140383

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Lemon wedges are overrated. Well, not true for iced tea maybe, but definitely as the boring, inevitable garnish for fish. Picture a plate of, say, fillet of sole set before you. What that slab of cooked white fish needs is not a spritz of invisible ink but a tongue-tingling, eye-popping bit of pizazz.

Top restaurants know the drill. When they serve fish, they gussy up dishes with easy-to-make, healthful, intensely flavored mixtures of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and chiles for a bit of excitement and textural interest.

Lately I’ve made a handful of fish-friendly salsas. Besides bringing great taste to the table, they are pretty much fat-free no-brainers to make. Most require no more than chopping and mixing. They keep well when refrigerated. Because there are no rules to follow, try our recipes or substitute what you find in your fridge or what looks fresh at the market.

If all those flavors are too much excitement, stick with old-fashioned, but always good, stewed tomatoes.

Stewed Tomatoes One: In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add 2 ribs of celery, chopped, and a half a medium onion, chopped, and ½ cup water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until water has evaporated and celery is tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add 2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, and cook until they are soft and juicy. Stir in chopped fresh basil or parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serves about 4.

Stewed Tomatoes Two: Sauté 1 small onion, chopped, and 1 clove garlic, chopped, in a tablespoon of olive oil. When soft, add the contents of a can of stewed or diced tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add a little chopped fresh rosemary. Mixture should be thick, almost saucy. Serves about 2.

All of the recipes are from “Salsas, Sambals, Chutneys & Chowchows” by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby. The 1993 book was inspired by the pickles, jams and “put-up” vegetables made by their grandmothers. These small relishes are chock-full of big flavors.

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