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Halibut, couscous make elegant dish

Triple-Pepper Steamed Halibut is served with saffron couscous and cherry tomatoes for a low-fat dinner.
Triple-Pepper Steamed Halibut is served with saffron couscous and cherry tomatoes for a low-fat dinner.
Becky Luigart-Stayner, Associated Press

The combination of steamed halibut with couscous and a side dish of cherry tomatoes makes an elegant presentation for entertaining guests. But you could also serve the halibut alone for a simpler meal or vary the accompanying items.

Best of all, these dishes are quickly made — and low in fat.

This suggested main course is part of a "cooking class" feature in Cooking Light magazine's October issue, written by Donata Maggipinto, entertaining and home style contributor to NBC's Today Show and a cookbook writer.


TRIPLE-PEPPER STEAMED HALIBUT

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups vertically sliced yellow onion

2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch strips) red bell pepper (about 2 large)

2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch strips) yellow bell pepper (about 2 large)

2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch strips) orange bell pepper (about 2 large)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Six 6-ounce halibut fillets

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and garlic; saute 20 minutes or until tender. Stir in wine, basil and oregano; cook 1 minute. Sprinkle fish with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; arrange fish over bell pepper mixture. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Makes 6 servings (serving size 1 fillet and 3/4 cup bell-pepper mixture).

Nutrition information per serving: 298 cal., 7.8 g fat (1.1 g saturated), 38.1 g pro., 18.8 g carbo., 4.8 g fiber, 54 mg chol., 394 mg sodium.


Earthy saffron is lifted by peppery green onions in this quick side dish. Serve with the halibut to soak up the tasty juices.


SAFFRON COUSCOUS

2 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup chopped green onion tops

Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add saffron, stirring to dissolve. Cover and keep warm.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add couscous; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, hot sauce, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; stir in onions.

Makes 6 servings (serving size 2/3 cup).

Nutrition information per serving: 212 cal., 4.8 g fat (0.7 g saturated), 6.7 g pro., 34.4 g carbo., 2.4 g fiber, 0 mg chol., 275 mg sodium.


Grape tomatoes also work well in this recipe.


SAUTEED CHERRY TOMATOES WITH SHALLOTS

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (about 1 large)

4 cups cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 2 1/2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally, Add tomatoes; cook 5 minutes or until slightly soft and thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings (serving size about 1/2 cup).

Nutrition information per serving: 39 cal., 1.9 g fat (0.3 g saturated), 1.1 g pro., 5.7 g carbo., 1.2 g fiber, 0 mg chol., 206 mg sodium.