Fish is my new best friend. Versatile, tasty, quick to prepare and (of course) low in calories: it's the perfect starting point at dinner time for a busy dieting mother. And for me - coming from the plains of the Midwest, where the nearest ocean is hundreds of miles away - fish has always been something of a luxury. (Growing up in the 1970s, the ultimate birthday dinner for me involved a trip to Red Lobster.) So when you are on a diet and depriving yourself of all those lovely cheeses and chocolates and butter-drenched potatoes, a little luxurious fish flesh goes a long way. Especially if you can find a way to combine creaminess without calories.
Plaice seems to be a fairly uncommon fish in North America, judging by the number of people who thought I'd made a typo when I mentioned it in my Facebook status line. Here in the UK, it's very popular - both in the ubiquitous fish and chip shops and also in restaurants, where it's often cooked similarly to sole. It's a very versatile fish in that way. And its tender flesh and subtle flavor shine when paired with sweet orange juice and creamy (low-fat) yogurt. A touch of tarragon brings the elements together and you end up with one delicious diet dish.
Fillet of Plaice with Creamy Orange Tarragon Sauce
(Serves 2; Weight Watchers points: 3)
I served the fish with a small helping of mixed wild and long grain rice (110 g for two) which brought the total Weight Watchers points up to 5.5.
2 place fillets of about 175 g each
1/2 a large orange plus 2-3 Tbs orange juice (I reserved the heel of the orange when slicing it for the fish and squeezed that for the juice)
1 tsp sunflower oil
1/2 a small pot of low fat yogurt (I made mine in my new yogurt maker with semi-skimmed milk; use 0% fat yogurt if you want to keep the points this low)
1/2 tsp tarragon (to taste really, but I find that a little tarragon goes a long way)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f. Spread the oil in the bottom of a baking pan large enough to hold both the fillets and lay them in it. Sprinkle the tarragon over the fish and lay the orange slices over the fillets. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the flesh is opaque and flaky. In the meantime, combine the orange juice and yogurt in a small pan and warm through. Add a dash of salt and pepper and reserve it. When the fish is done, serve over a small helping of mixed rice (5 points total for 110 g). Add a tablespoon or two of the fish juices from the baking pan to the orange yogurt sauce and taste for seasoning: it may need a bit of tarragon or a little more pepper to bring out the flavors. Drizzle over the fish and rice and consume immediately - fish cools quickly!