Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 21, 2021

© Jennifer Causey

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Parchment-steamed sea bass Veracruz over cilantro quinoa

One-pot meals that you can make in a rice cooker

The Mexican port of Veracruz is famous for its seafood. This dish is enjoyed in many iterations, made with either snapper or cod. But since the protein structure of sea bass will allow you to cook it in a rice cooker for the entire cooking cycle of the quinoa, it is the fish of choice here.

Wrapped up in a packet of parchment paper along with Anaheim chili, tomatoes and onions, the fish soaks up their flavours. It’s a perfect dish to serve with quinoa.

For the fish
1½ lb. (680 g) sea bass fillets, cut into 4 portions
1½ c. (375 ml) cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 Anaheim chili, seeded, deribbed and finely chopped
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) ground cumin
¼ c. (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh lime juice

For the quinoa
1½ c. (375 ml) pre-washed quinoa
2½ c. (625 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) freshly ground black pepper
½ c. (125 ml) finely chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
1 Hass avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced

Cut four pieces of parchment paper into 10-by-12-inch (25-by-30.5-cm) rectangles. Lay a piece of sea bass in the centre of each piece of parchment.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the tomatoes, onion, chili, cumin, olive oil and lime juice. Top each piece of fish with some of the tomato-onion mixture. If you have extra, save it to garnish the quinoa.

Fold the paper over the fish and seal the edges by folding them over a few times to make a trim package. Stack the fish packages in the steamer basket of the rice cooker and set aside.

Put the quinoa in a medium rice cooker and stir in the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Arrange the steamer basket over the quinoa. Cover the rice cooker and set to the regular cycle. At the end of the cooking cycle, check the fish to make sure it is cooked through (it should register 145°F/63°C on a thermometer). Allow the fish and quinoa to continue steaming for an additional 5 minutes on the keep-warm setting or with the machine turned off. (Many rice cookers, including all fuzzy-logic machines, do this automatically.)

Fluff the quinoa and stir in ¼ c. (60 ml) of the cilantro. Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl. Open each packet of fish, lay a few slices of avocado over the fish and sprinkle with the remaining cilantro. Plate the fish packets and serve. Serves 4.

Cook’s note: Want to keep that leftover avocado from turning brown? Spritz it with water and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Submerging the slices in water will also keep them green overnight.

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