I once heard the founder of Glory Foods, the late Bill Williams, justify cooking with his company's Southern-inspired canned greens in a way that made me forever stop apologizing for shortcuts: "These won't be as good as the 'Sunday best' greens you remember your mother making, but I guarantee they'll be the best Tuesday-night greens you ever rushed to prepare."
I make the same claim for this recipe laced with my best weekday shortcuts. This quick fix has been known to draw raves from hungry family and friends as a quick weekday dinner.
Substitute the shrimp and fish with a 1-pound package of cleaned mixed seafood (I found shrimp, fish, scallops and squid in a neat package at Trader Joe's in the freezer case.)
Donna Pierce writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.
2 baking potatoes, pierced in several pieces with a fork
1 each, trimmed, coarsely chopped: onion, celery rib, green pepper
4 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
2 bottles (4 ounces each) clam juice
1/2 cup whole milk
1 can (12 ounces) unsweetened low-fat evaporated milk
2 white fish fillets, cut into chunks
1/2 pound peeled, deveined, raw frozen shrimp, defrosted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Asian hot chile sauce, such as Sambal Oelek (optional)
Cook the potatoes in a microwave on high (100 percent) until just fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Peel; cut into chunks. Set aside. Meanwhile, process the onion, celery and green pepper in a food processor until coarsely chopped; set aside. Cook the bacon, turning occasionally, in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet. Add the reserved onion, celery and green pepper; cook over medium-high heat. Cook until onion begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the reserved potatoes, bay leaves, fish sauce, seafood seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until well mixed, about 1 minute.
Add the clam juice and both kinds of milk; heat just to a boil. Add the fish chunks and shrimp; lower heat to a simmer. Stir in the half-and-half. Cover; cook until fish is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, crumble the bacon; stir in the bacon, fresh parsley and chile sauce, if using. Remove bay leaves and serve.
Per serving: 264 calories, 8 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 111 milligrams cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrate, 25 grams protein, 884 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber