Five-Spice Fish

I made this last Friday night, and its simplicity and flavor blew both me and D. away. What's more, it's very low in fat and calories, if you're concerned with things like that . . . this is a perfect weeknight meal - it takes no time to whip this, rice and a veg up, so try it this week!

Five-Spice Fish

1 lb. tilapia or cod fillets 1 1/2 t. Chinese five-spice powder (see Note below) 1/2 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce (or wheat-free Tamari if you're GF) 3 T. light brown sugar 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Prepare enough rice to feed your family - frozen, pre-cooked brown rice (either pre-cooked by you or found at the market) is a real time-saver! Sprinkle both sides of the fish fillets with five-spice powder.

Combine soy sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl.

Pour the soy sauce mixture into a medium-sized skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Immediately add the fish fillets upside down and cover - you're beginning to steam your fish and it'll happen quickly. After 3-5 minutes (depending on how thick your fillets are), turn the fish over and recover. After 3-5 more minutes, sprinkle the scallions over the fish and recover and steam for 2 more minutes. Check to make sure your fish is cooked through - it should be opaque and flake easily. Remove the fillets from the pan and tent with foil to keep them warm.

Reduce your heat to low.

This is where I'd add steamed veg to the pan, to swirl it around in all that juicy goodness - I did steamed asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces. It's already cooked, so you're just looking to get some of that good flavor all over it.

Remove that and turn off the heat. Plate this up with some rice, followed by the fish fillet on top, and then your cooked veg. Take a little of the pan sauce and drizzle it over each plate.

Serves 4.

Note: Don't have your heat too high or you'll burn your sugar. Better on the low side and have your fish take a couple minutes more to cook, than on the high side and have the burned taste. If you take the time to be careful, you'll be rewarded with a party in your mouth: sweet & salty & delicious!

What is five-spice powder, anyway? Five-spice powder is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns. Look for it in the spice section at the market or with other Asian ingredients.