As we ponder the approaching spring and then summer, some of us may wish to shed some of our winter insulation. I can hear the groans, the lamentations of imagined deprivation, traumatic memories of the grapefruit diet and the boiled egg diet.
But fear not: Simple and healthy does not have to be tasteless. Consider the following menu, which delivers a healthy, sustaining duo of dishes with a variety of flavors and textures.
I used salmon filets, but any fish will work. Depending on thickness, you may have to adjust the cooking time. And more delicate fish, such as flounder, may need less of the topping so that it is not overwhelmed.
The beauty of both these dishes is the variety within each bite.
The tenderness of the fish, the freshness of the herbs and the sharpness and crunch of the lemon slices obliterate the notion of a low-calorie, low-fat meal. And the cabbage, despite its simplicity, delivers a diversity of textures and tastes — the outer, more delicate leaves wilt and take on a slightly sweet flavor; the interior bits remain firm and crunchy.
Diet? What diet?
Lemon Herb-Roasted Salmon
Serves 2 to 4
1 pound salmon filets
½ cup chopped fresh dill
¼ cup chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon butter or butter substitute
1 lemon, sliced thinly, pits removed
Salt and pepper to taste
⅓ cup dry white wine
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and place the salmon in a shallow baking dish.
Place the dill and chives on top of the salmon and dot it with bits of butter. Top with the lemon slices, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Pour the wine into the bottom of the pan around the salmon, and roast for about 20 minutes until the fish is cooked through, the lemon rings are crisp and the herbs are wilted.
1 head cabbage (I used green, but red would be colorful and delicious, too.)
2 tablespoons butter or butter substitute
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup white wine or vegetable broth
Rinse and slice the cabbage, removing the core.
In a large skillet, melt the butter, and add the salt and pepper. Add the cabbage and turn over, continuously, with tongs until all the leaves are starting to cook, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine or broth. Cover. Allow the cabbage to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring and turning over in the pan frequently.
Adjust the seasonings and serve.
Keri White is a Philadelphia food writer.