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BAKED FISH NIGHT NEEDN'T BE A FRIGHT

Here's the thing about baked white fish, such as haddock or cod: We know we should eat more of it because it's such a healthy choice. Trouble is, we also know that most baked white fish is dry and tasteless.

I speak from experience. I hate to throw my mom under the bus, but her baked fish, while certainly healthy, was uninspired, flavorless, unsatisfying and, perhaps worst of all, overcooked. My sister and I used to sneak emergency cookies from my mom's purse on baked fish night just to fill up.

I wanted to change baked fish night for future generations, or at least for my own daughters. My goal for this recipe was to preserve the health benefits of cod or haddock while making a dish I would actually crave. I wanted a baked white fish dish that is satisfying and comforting and that I could make easily on a weeknight.

Enter my baked cod with parsley sauce. I took inspiration from two unlikely bedfellows: the flavorful Argentinian chimichurri sauce and a cassoulet, the ultimate creamy-bean French comfort food.

The recipe couldn't have been easier. I whipped up the sauce in minutes (you could do this part a day in advance and keep in the refrigerator), then layered white beans, fish and the dill-parsley sauce and popped it all in the oven.

The extra fiber and protein from the beans and healthy fats from the sliced almonds help make this dish truly filling.

BAKED WHITE FISH IN PARSLEY SAUCE

For the sauce:

1 large bunch parsley, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

2 shallots, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the fish:

2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained, rinsed and blotted dry

4 (5-ounce) cod or haddock fillets

Salt and ground black pepper

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Lemon wedges, for serving

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a blender, combine all ingredients for the sauce. Pulse until mixed, but still chunky (about 10 pulses). If there isn't enough liquid to blend the herbs, add another tablespoon of vinegar. Set aside.

In a 3-quart baking dish, spread the beans in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper.

Use paper towels to blot any excess moisture from the fish fillets (this is especially important if they are thawed from frozen). Season the cod lightly with salt and pepper, then set the fillets on top of the beans. Drizzle the parsley sauce over the fish and beans, then bake until the fish is almost cooked through (bright white and opaque), about 15 to 18 minutes.

Sprinkle the almonds over the top, then return to the oven and bake until the almonds are golden, about another 3 minutes.

Serve with lemon wedges on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 610 calories; 25g fat (3.5g saturated, 0g trans fats); 60mg cholesterol; 52g carbohydrates; 13g fiber; 2g sugar; 44g protein; 340mg sodium.

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