6 Ingenious Fish Pairings
No boring salads, we promise! What to serve with salmon, tuna, halibut and other popular seafood.
Serve a Side That'll Stand Up to Salmon
Salmon's meaty texture demands an equally substantial accompaniment, which is why a side of lentils is such a natural companion (fava and lima beans work well too). It's best if you slightly undercook the legumes, so they're almost nutlike in consistency. This hearty, filling lentil dish
gets an extra jolt of flavor from golden garlic confit; round out the meal with sautéed spinach.
Make a Superfast Side for Quick-Cooking Flounder
Breaded and fried flounder is often the one fish dish picky eaters will touch; the crispy exterior and mild-tasting meat are an unbeatable combination. Since the dish cooks so quickly and involves frying in oil, we suggest a fast but healthy side, like Flash-Cooked Greens with Garlic
(cooking time: one minute and 20 seconds, tops) or a basic romaine or red-leaf salad livened up with one of these four speedy—and unusual—dressings
Complement Halibut's Bright, Clean Taste
This white fish has firm, flaky meat and a delicate, sweet flavor; its easy, breezy lightness makes lemon a perfect companion. Cristina Ferrare matches halibut with mashed potatoes and garlic spinach
that are both scented with the citrus fruit. Another refreshing idea is Oprah's Lemon Zest Pasta
, which she likes to serve "with a nice piece of fish grilled on the panini press for a few minutes."
Bump Up Tilapia's B-Plus Health Report Card
All fish are good sources of protein, and they contain few of the bad-for-you saturated fats in red meats. Compared to other species, though, tilapia has relatively small amounts of good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids. You can remedy this with a nut-enriched side dish, such as this recipe for carrots and apricots
that are glazed in jam, tossed with pine nuts, fresh apricots and mint leaves, and served over grains.
Use the Oven for Mahimahi and Its Companion
Almost any sauce works with this versatile, meaty fish, from coconut curry to lemon-caper. Its flakiness, though, can make it tricky to grill; you'll have a much better chance of keeping the fillet in one piece if you bake it in a hot oven. Since you've already cranked up the heat, cook your vegetables there too: We love this roasted asparagus salad
(blasting the stalks in a 425-degree oven helps their sharp flavor mellow, and they turn slightly sweet).
Photo: Paulette Phlipot © 2012
Keep the Grill On for a Summery Addition to Tuna
Purists will tell you that the only way to eat good-quality tuna is raw, but if you'd rather leave that to a sushi chef, grilling is the next best way to go. Seared tuna steaks—just barely cooked in the center—are delicious, and if you're outside already, it makes sense to use the barbecue to cook a side dish too. These Five-Spice Pineapple Kabobs
get concentrated flavor from being cooked over the coals. If you're also serving a fruity salsa—a common accompaniment to grilled tuna—even better.
Next: 12 healthy (but tasty) seafood dinners