Tonawanda News

September 3, 2013

SIMPLY GLUTEN-FREE: Add some crunch to dinner with salt and vinegar chip

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Summer is the perfect time for family road trips. And one essential element of any road trip is junk food. And of course it is a proven fact that calories consumed on a road trip do not count! OK, so maybe that is not so much a fact as it is a baldfaced lie, but hey it’s summer, live a little! 

My favorite road trip junk food snack is gluten-free, kettle-cooked salt and vinegar potato chips and M&M’s — eaten together in the same bite. Don’t scoff until you have tried it — sweet, salty, sour, chocolaty, a little bit of junk food dietary heaven (and calorie intake hell) in one little handful. 

Typically after a road trip I toss whatever is left of the less-than-healthy snacks and we get back to our normal eating habits. 

But after one road trip I was left with a half bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. As I was about to drop them in the trash, inspiration hit. What about crusting a nice healthy piece of fish with just a few crumbles of the chips and baking and serving with an egg-free, cholesterol-free sauce made from vegan mayonnaise? Hmmm, seemed like a little stroke of genius and the perfect way to bridge back to good clean eating from the dietary freedom of a road trip. 

The crushed chips give the fish a nice crunch and a fried feel to it despite the healthy baking and the salt and vinegar flavor is reminiscent of fish and chips. I used the 40 percent less fat salt and vinegar chips from Cape Cod which made me feel even better about the whole thing. Yep, genius!

Salt and vinegar baked fish

3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise 

2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced 

Juice of 1/2 a lemon 

2 teaspoons agave nectar (or sugar)

1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

6 to 8 chives, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

1/4 of a cucumber (about 3 inches), peeled 

4 4-ounce cod filets

2 teaspoons vegan mayo

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 cups (a 2-ounce bag) gluten-free, kettle-cooked salt and vinegar potato chips, crushed

Prepare the sauce by combining 3/4 cup vegan mayo, garlic, lemon juice, agave, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and minced chives in a mixing bowl. 

Grate the peeled cucumber into a paper towel and squeeze out all the juice. Stir into the sauce mixture. Place in a serving dish, cover, and refrigerate until serving time. Sauce can be made a day or two in advance. 

For the fish, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. 

Arrange the fish filets on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and a large pinch of pepper, then brush each filet with 1/2 teaspoon of vegan mayo. Top the fish filets with the crushed potato chips, gently pressing them down. Bake for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with the sauce.

Carol Kicinski is a gluten-free cook, magazine editor and blog writer. Find more of her recipes at www.simplygluten-free.com.