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FAST FOOD: Entrees for time-pressed cooks

Fish dinner is flexible, benefits from citrus twist

By Judy Hevrdejs, Tribune Newspapers

May 18, 2011

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At a recent dinner, my culinary guru/friend Jolene Worthington served guests a delicious, perfectly glazed, broiled salmon steak atop vinaigrette-dressed spinach.

The salmon's cooking juices gently wilted some spinach leaves, a tangy vinaigrette played well with the rich fish.

As her sous-chef for that entree, I loved its simplicity and tried to replicate it — with a few twists. Diced mango tossed with the spinach produced a mellow version.

Another friend suggested citrus, perhaps ruby red grapefruit. Tried that too, with the grapefruit's tartness brightening the salmon. Would halibut, swordfish or tilapia work? I tried each with tasty results.

Tiny red potatoes (halved, boiled and buttered) plus a meal capper of vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce with toasted pecans filled out the feast.

Tips: Use a barbecue grill rather than the oven to cook fish. Serve with iced tea or a French Chablis or Oregon pinot noir.

Citrus-glazed salmon with spinach

Prep: 15 minutes
Marinate: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 large ruby red grapefruit
12 to 16 ounces fresh spinach
3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar with a touch of honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 salmon fillets or steaks, about 4 ounces each
1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1. Peel and section grapefruit over a bowl, catching the juice; you'll need about 1/4 cup. Dice grapefruit segments; place segments and spinach in a large bowl.

2. Combine 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Arrange salmon on a plate; pour 1/2 cup vinaigrette over salmon (reserving remaining vinaigrette). Let stand 15-20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat broiler. Line a broiler pan or shallow baking pan with foil; brush with oil. Remove salmon from marinade, discarding marinade; place salmon in pan. Broil 8 to 10 minutes.

4. To dress spinach, put reserved vinaigrette in a heavy saucepan; reduce slightly over medium-high heat. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice, 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl with the shallots and reduced vinaigrette. Pour over spinach; toss to coat. Divide spinach among four dinner plates; top with salmon.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 365 calories, 47% of calories from fat, 19 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 72 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrates, 29 g protein, 281 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

jhevrdejs@tribune.com