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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Pecans perk up fish fillets

Thursday, March 30, 2000

Tested by Nancy Anderson

We know that fish is "healthful" and "heart smart" and we should eat more of it.

So, as good, health-conscious Americans, we feel pangs of guilt at the supermarket as we scurry past the seafood on our way to the steak.

While many of us will eat fish in a restaurant, we don't want to deal with it at home. Too much trouble.

Fear of fish can be conquered, however, with recipes like today's Countdown entry for Georgia Pecan Fish, sent in by Pat Roach of Bridgeville. She describes it as an "ultra-easy, no-fail dish which can easily be doubled."

We found it to be one of the simplest Countdown recipes we've ever tested (prep time is 2 minutes, the oven does the rest) and the resulting dish is a gourmet treat.

The sauce that coats the fish has only three ingredients; yet combined they deliver a distinctive flavor coupled with the toasty pecans.

A retired psychiatric nurse instructor, Pat got the recipe from a cookbook put out by the Chartiers Mental Health Center, where she worked.

"It came from a lady who vacationed in Georgia a lot," she said. And Georgians are known for doing wonderful things with pecans.

Pat puts fish on the table for herself and husband, Tom, year-round, not just during Lent, and laments her son Dennis' lack of success as a fisherman.

"He goes fishing a lot but never brings anything home," she said. "I don't know how well he really does."

Pat is another three-time Countdown winner (her previous entries were Pepper Sirloin Steak and Chinese Garden Salad), and she claims Georgia Pecan Fish is her "final Countdown to Dinner recipe." We hope not.

Georgia Pecan Fish

1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon tarragon or thyme
2 to 3 fresh fish fillets, see note
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Blend mayonnaise and seasonings. Spread over fish fillets and sprinkle pecans on top. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Serve with favorite veggies (we made rice, too).

Tester's note: We used 3 tilapia fillets and had plenty of mayo mixture to go around. Pat uses a variety of fish, including flounder. We agreed that salmon would also be good.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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