French bistro cooking is making a big splash and it’s no wonder. It uses fresh ingredients to make simple peasant dishes. Several trendy new bistros have opened throughout the United States.
Many bistros in Paris feature dishes from the chef’s home province.
Tonight’s bistro dinner comes from a delightful area of France that borders on the Mediterranean near Spain, Languedoc-Roussillon. Fresh fish from the Mediterranean and lots of garlic are two important ingredients in the cooking of this region. I created a quick version of La Bourride, a garlicky, fish casserole that is simple, delicious and captures the flavors of the region.
The casserole calls for Swiss chard, a green with crinkly leaves and thick, long, celery-like stalks. If chard is unavailable, use the large outer leaves of Romaine lettuce and add it just one minute before completing the dish.
3/4 pound red potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
2 large leaves Swiss chard, leaves and stalk, sliced (1 cup)
1 cup sliced leek
1/2 cup fat-free, low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 pound mahi mahi (see note)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash potatoes, do not peel. Slice 1/4-inch thick. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high 3 minutes. Or, place in a steaming basket and steam over hot water 10 minutes.
While potatoes cook, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add carrots, celery, Swiss chard, leek and chicken broth. Saute until all vegetables are wilted, but not brown, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix garlic and orange juice into mayonnaise. Set aside.
Wash clams and rinse fish and pat dry with a paper towel. When vegetables are soft, add mahi mahi, white wine and salt and pepper to taste to the skillet. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium heat 7 minutes. Add the clams, cover and simmer 3 minutes or until clams open. Remove fish and clams to a plate. Add mayonnaise to the skillet and blend well.
To serve, divide the potatoes into two portions and place in two large soup bowls. Divide the fish and shellfish into two portions and place on top of the potatoes. Spoon the vegetables and sauce over the top of the fish.
Per serving: 570 calories (30 percent from fat), 18.8 grams fat (2.8 grams saturated, 4.0 grams monounsaturated), 146 milligrams cholesterol, 43.6 grams protein, 46.5 grams carbohydrates, 6.7 grams fiber, 810 milligrams sodium.
• Any fleshy fish can be used such as red mullet, cod, tilapia or grouper.
• If using a thinner fish fillet such as snapper, cook the fish for 5 minutes instead of seven.
• The best way to wash leeks is to cut them in half lengthwise and in half again and run them under cold water.
• Slice the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a thick slicing blade.