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Karista's Kitchen Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

Today, I’m talking sauce! Ask anyone who has known me for a while and they will tell you I love to make sauce.  Sauce seems to elevate a meal and make it feel special.  It adds another layer of flavor and texture that engages the taste buds and keeps the recipe entertaining bite after bite.

A sauce can be as simple or as complex as you like.   It can be intense with flavor or subtly infused.  Sauce is all about dressing up a dish and making it shine.

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon // Karista's Kitchen

Beurre Blanc is a classic French butter-based sauce. Translated it literally means “white butter”.  It’s considered an emulsion sauce and requires the butter to be chilled before using in order to keep the sauce from breaking. Now that I’ve mentioned this, don’t let the possibility of the sauce “breaking” deter you.

Cooking (and sauce making) requires prep, patience and practice.  If you’ve never made this sauce before, just take your time.  I promise, before long you will be a sauce making pro.

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc  // Karista's Kitchen

A basic Beurre Blanc requires white wine, white wine vinegar, shallots and cold butter. This Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc only requires Meyer lemon juice, shallots, cold butter and lemon zest. That’s it! A little salt to taste and your sauce is done.

I prefer Meyer lemon versus conventional lemon in this sauce.  Meyer lemons have a sweeter flavor and are less acidic than regular lemons which creates a subtle and balanced citrus flavor in the sauce. For additional lemon flavor I add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the finished sauce.

I’ve paired this sauce with pan seared salmon.  I think these two were made for each other.  The creamy butter sauce laced with lemon combined with the unique flavor of the salmon makes for a  delicious and beautiful dish.  This sauce is also exquisite drizzled over pan seared or grilled scallops and I’ve also been known to ladle this silky sauce on grilled oysters.

Truly a beautiful sauce that will make you fall in love with seafood all over again.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc over Salmon

Some chefs leave the shallots in the sauce which is also fine. This, I call the "rustic" version. It also adds a bit more texture to the sauce.


  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced (about a tablespoon)
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced (about a stick and a half)
  • 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh chive for garnish


  • In a nonreactive saute pan over medium low heat, add the lemon juice and shallots Simmer until half the liquid has been reduced; it will feel almost dry or what is referred to as "au sec".
  • Take the pan off the heat and whisk in several pieces of diced butter (about a 1/4 of the butter). When it's nicely incorporated whisk in a few more pieces butter (another 1/4 of the butter). The sauce should begin to feel smooth.
  • Place the pan back over medium low heat and whisk in the remaining butter until the sauce is smooth.
  • Take the sauce off the heat and gently stir in the lemon zest and season to taste with salt.
  • Strain the sauce into a container and ladle over pan seared, roasted or grilled salmon.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh chive or little tender sprigs of fresh thyme.
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    Beef Karista's Kitchen

    Beef Tenderloin Medallions with Madeira Wine Pan Sauce

    beef tenderloin with madeira wine sauce

    When I was little, I would stand with my face pressed against the chain link fence that surrounded our yard, watching my Grandfather attempt his daily chores outside.  Grandpa was a hard worker.  Once a policeman, then a plumber and always semi-retired.

    Grass never grew under Grandpa’s feet.  He was always up to something.  Digging holes for posts so he could hang a new tire swing for the Grandkids, tinkering in his man cave with his motorcycles, somehow resisting the ache of taking a long ride through the country.

    A hearty man.  Skin made of leather from years in the sun, barely a speck of blonde hair left on a shiny brown head.  Scars and a crooked nose from numerous motorcycle accidents never deterred the sweetness of his face.  A smile that could warm the heart and the bluest eyes that twinkled brightly.

    Until the moment my Grandmother opened the front door and shouted his name.  He pretended he didn’t hear her calling.

    This always made me giggle.  I’d keep his secret.  I’d never tell Grandma where he was, although I’m sure she knew.


    I’ve been lucky.  I’ve had, and continue to have, many good men in my life.  Uncles, Grandfather’s, Father’s, brother’s, cousins who are like my brothers, friends and of course my main man and love of my life, Ranger Craig.   Men of character and integrity, respect for the strong women in their lives, men who were, and still are, some of the best Father’s I’ve ever known.

    Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and most delicious Father’s Day!

    Loads of Love,


    Beef Tenderloin Medallions with a Madeira Wine Pan Sauce

    Serves 2 (can easily be doubled)


    2 Beef Tenderloin approximately 5-6 ounces each

    Salt and pepper

    2 tablespoons high heat oil or clarified butter (Ghee)

    1 tablespoon chopped shallots

    3 tablespoons unsalted butter

    1 tablespoon flour

    1 cup beef stock

    ½ cup Madeira wine

    1/2 cup sliced sautéed cremini mushrooms (optional)

    1 tablespoon beef demi-glaze.  This gives a little richer flavor to the sauce and can be found at most markets, usually near the beef broth, or in the freezer section

    Chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish (optional)


    Season the beef with salt and pepper on both sides.  In a heavy bottom pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Once the oil is shimmering and hot, place the beef tenderloin in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides.  About 6-7 minutes per side for medium doneness. Transfer the beef to a plate.

    Turn the heat down to medium and in the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Then stir in the chopped shallots.  Once the shallots are fragrant stir in the flour.  Once the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds to one minute, whisk in the beef stock and then the Madeira wine.

    Continue whisking and cooking until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened just a bit.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Ladle a bit of sauce on a plate and place a tenderloin on top with any remaining beef juices from the beef plate.  Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley and serve immediately.

    I love this beef dish with Potatoes Dauphinoise and Roasted Asparagus.

    Beef Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Pasta Pork

    Hearty Winter Bolognese

    Hearty Winter Bolognese // Karista's Kitchen

    When I was little, I remember my Grandmother standing at the stove top stirring her homemade tapioca pudding.

    I stood close by, waiting, asking to help, so I could somehow sneak a sample of her delicious recipe.

    Grandma smiled and with a twinkle in her bright blue eyes, she said “little one, I think you should dip your finger in the pudding”.  I said “why Grandma?”  She replied “because it will make the pudding taste better”.


    Food memories are often the most enduring. Filled with moments of kindred spirit, sanctuary… love.

    These days, nothing says Sunday love better than a big bowl of Hearty Winter Bolognese over pasta – a pleasure for the palate.

    Hearty Winter Bolognese isn’t just a meat sauce. It’s a slow braised Italian meat sauce with deep, satisfying flavors ready to blanket your favorite pasta.

    Like every Italian Nonna, traditional Bolognese recipes vary from chef to chef.   Typically, Italian Bolognese is prepared with pancetta, soffritto (onions, carrots, celery) white wine, minced beef, pork or veal and milk.

    However, many American versions of Hearty Winter Bolognese are prepared with olive oil, red wine and a mixture of ground beef and pork. I have several versions myself, depending on what I have on hand, or what flavors I’m in the mood to use.

    However you decide to prepare your Bolognese, allowing the sauce to simmer stove top for several hours will create a most delicious experience.

    And… don’t forget to dip your finger in the sauce.  It’ll make it taste better. 🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,



    Hearty Winter Bolognese

    Serving Size: 6-8


    • 1 lb ground beef (local and grass fed beef tastes best)
    • 1lb Hot or mild Italian pork sausage (if you don’t eat pork, sub with Hot Italian chicken sausage)
    • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
    • 1 yellow onion, diced
    • 1 red onion, diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup dry red wine ( I use DaVinci Chianti for a perfect sauce)
    • 2 sprigs oregano
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 28 ounce jar crushed tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    • Grated parmesan cheese
    • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a Dutch oven or stock pot add the oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the carrots, onions and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are wilted. Then stir in the garlic and sauté a minute longer.
  • Next add the ground beef and sausage and let the meat cook through. Once cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated, stir in the wine.
  • Let the wine decrease by half and then add the oregano, bay leaf, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring the sauce to a simmer and season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Let the sauce simmer stove top uncovered on low for about 2 hours.
  • Before serving, remove the oregano and bay leaf. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and then stir in the ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley.
  • Serve with your favorite pasta and garnish with a handful of grated parmesan.
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    Karista's Kitchen Pork Sauces, Salsas and More

    Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

    Roasted Red Peppers, Hazelnut, sauce for pork

    Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

    I always keep a spare pork tenderloin, or two, in the freezer.  It’s one of those quick fix meals that pairs beautifully with most any sauce or roasted winter fruit.  I had planned to use this tenderloin with a spiced apple compote, which is delicious, but I just wasn’t feelin’ the apples that day.

    I must be longing for summer, or maybe I need extra vitamin C,  because my taste buds have been craving the flavor of roasted red peppers.  A little smoky, slightly sweet with a touch of tang, that makes for a lovely pairing with pork, lamb, poultry, pasta and veggies.

    And don’t get me started with the mini roasted sweet peppers.  I can eat them like candy.  So sweet and so flavorful, I often roast them with a little oil, salt and pepper and serve them as a side dish.  They’re also fabulous stuffed with cheese.

    Bell peppers (and mini sweets) make the loveliest sauces, salsas, and relishes.  Complimenting grilled or roasted meats and fish so beautifully.  I read somewhere that bell peppers are like the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world.  All that bright beautiful color in all those wonderful shapes and sizes.

    This sassy little sauce is no exception.  Combined with toasted hazelnuts, fresh herbs and olive oil, this sauce’s bright orange/red color is pleasing to the eye and tantalizing to the taste buds.

    Extravagant in taste, but simply prepared.  My favorite kind of weeknight meal 🙂

    Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

    Serves 4


    1 1/2 pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2 to 1 inch medallions

    Salt and pepper

    4 tablespoons high heat oil, or clarified butter (ghee)

    Fresh chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)

    Sauce Ingredients

    2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded

    1/3 cup Hazelnuts, roasted and skinned

    2 cloves garlic, peeled

    2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

    1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

    1 teaspoon sugar

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon Thai Kitchen roasted red chili paste or a dash of hot sauce

    ½ cup extra virgin olive oil  (decrease the olive oil to ¼-1/3 to use this sauce as a pesto or dip)


    To Prepare the Sauce:

    Place all the sauce ingredients, except the olive oil, in the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until the hazelnuts are finely ground.

    Next, with the processor running, pour the olive oil over the mixture until well blended.  The sauce should have a very thick salad dressing consistency.  You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl several times in between blending.

    The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to one week.   Bring the sauce to room temperature before using or warm lightly in a double boiler, never getting the sauce to hot as the oil will separate.

    Serve over any grilled meats and poultry.  Or serve as a dip for crudités or pesto for Crostini. 

    To Prepare the Pork Tenderloin Medallions:

    Season the medallions with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot and shimmering,  add the medallions (you may need to cook in batches) adding more oil as needed.

    When they are brown on the first side, flip and brown them on the second side.  It shouldn’t take long for the pork medallions to cook through, 2 minutes on each side depending on thickness.  Pork should be cooked to 145F internal temperature for perfectly moist and juicy pork.

    Ladle the sauce on a platter and place the cooked pork on top of the sauce.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.

    Recipe adapted from Chef Jerry Traunfeld, The Herbfarm Cookbook (a must have in your cook book library!)

    Appetizers Grilling Karista's Kitchen Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

    Proscuitto Wrapped Scallops with a Raspberry Chipotle Glaze

    I’m basking in the quiet this morning.  A rare moment.  The day will get busier and by the end, I’ll wonder where time went.

    With a full daily schedule, I constantly remind myself “be present in the moment”.  Sage advice from my lovely yoga Instructor.  Advice that has allowed me to relish time, instead of passing through it at mach speed.

    I walk around mumbling these words.  So often that I found myself reciting this phrase in the market yesterday.  To my embarrassment, a fellow shopper thought I was talking to her.  No, just talking to myself.

    I realized how much I miss in life when I’m not present in the moment.  Little things my daughters say, a hidden smile from my husband, sadness in a friend’s voice or joy in my niece’s email telling me she got into the college of her choice.

    Even the pained look on Tank’s face when I’ve forgotten to feed him.  Although he usually won’t let anyone forget to feed him.  Even though he’s sporting a little extra “husky” these days and could use a tiny reduction in his food consumption.

    Being present in the moment has become more important to me as of late. The tragedy in Newtown is devastating.  I cannot imagine.

    Like many, I’ve shed a thousand tears. My heart continues to grieve for those who lost their precious children and loved ones.  My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with them.

    I wish you all true joy, much love and peace this holiday season!

    Loads of Love,


    Proscuitto Wrapped Scallops with a Raspberry Chipotle Glaze

    I love this dish as an entree with Mexican Diver Scallops or as an appetizer with smaller scallops U 20-30.   The Raspberry Chipotle Glaze is even fabulous on grilled salmon, chicken and shrimp.  A lovely and versatile sauce. 🙂


    Serves 2-3

    10 large dry packed scallops (for appetizer use smaller dry packed scallops U 20-30, but not Bay Scallops)

    5-8 slices prosciutto (sliced in half lengthwise)

    10 rosemary stalks for skewers (or pretty party picks that can withstand heat)

    Salt and Pepper

    2-4 tablespoons clarified butter or high heat oil

    1 cup raspberry preserves (with or without seeds, although I prefer without seeds.  If you can’t find without seed, just strain the glaze before using)

    1/4 – 1/3 cup white wine or port

    1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce

    Pinch of black pepper


    To make the sauce,  in a blender or food processor, pulse the preserves, chipotle chili and wine.  Just until nicely combined.  Transfer to a small pot and heat on low.  Stir in a pinch of black pepper.  The heat thin the sauce a bit.  The sauce thickens as it cools.

    To make the scallops, wrap one strip of prosciutto around the scallop and secure with a rosemary skewer.  Continue to do this with the remaining scallops.

    Heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon or two of clarified butter or high heat oil.  Season the scallops lightly with salt and pepper.  When the butter is hot, brown the scallops on both sides.  About 1-2 minutes on each side depending on size of the scallop.  You may need to adjust your heat and turn it down to medium if your pan gets too hot.  You want the scallops to have a nice golden brown crust on each side.  Click on this link for a visual tutorial on how to perfectly pan sear scallops.

    Drizzle sauce on plates or a platter and then place the cooked scallops on top of the sauce and serve immediately.  As well, you can plate the scallops and then drizzle the sauce on top.  Either way, it’ll taste fantastic!

    Recipe inspired by my favorite fishmonger, Jim at Gemini Fish Market 🙂

    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More

    Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken with Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce

    Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken

    Sauces reign supreme at the Bennett Camp.  And why you might ask?

    I blame it on culinary school.  Almost every entrée recipe I learned to prepare had some sort of brilliant sauce.  I loved practicing sauces.  I relished the challenge of tweaking them to my tastes and adding new and unusual flavors.

    The Bennett Crew loved sampling my sauces.  In fact, my happy little family came to expect a sauce over every entrée I served.

    Until one day… I prepared a Pork Milanese.  Milanese doesn’t have a sauce.  So I served it traditionally. Without a sauce.

    Everyone sat quietly at the table, looking at their plates.  Not a peep.  I asked my sassy family why they weren’t eating their dinner and my handsome husband replied “where’s the sauce?”

    Hmmm.   Never saw that one coming.  I told my family a Milanese doesn’t come with a sauce.  To which my youngest sassy gal replied “but I’d like to have a sauce Mom”.   Well, who could resist those sweet words coming from a  three year old.

    Back into the kitchen I whipped up a little sauce for the Milanese.  Today, almost everything I serve the Bennett Crew comes with a sauce.  😉

    Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken with Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce

    I’ve paired one of my fave little sauces with this Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken dish.  You can also find this sauce paired with my Thai Shrimp Cakes and it’s just as lovely over grilled pork and chicken.

    Serves 4


    4 chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs (boneless/skinless)

    1 ½ cups shredded coconut

    1 cup chopped pecans

    ½ cup all purpose flour

    2 eggs, whisked with a tablespoon of water

    Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    Chopped Italian parsley for garnish

    Parchment lined baking sheet

    Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce (recipe below)


    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    In a food processor add the coconut and pecans and pulse until nicely ground together, like bread crumbs.  Set aside.  Per a lovely readers comments, a few tablespoons of panko can be added to the breading for a little extra texture and crunch.

    Set out three bowls. One with flour, one with egg wash and the last one with the coconut pecan mixture.

    Season the chicken with salt and black pepper.

    Lightly dust the chicken in the flour, then the egg wash and then press them into the coconut pecan mixture.  Place them on a platter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes.  This step can be done in the morning and then baked in the evening for dinner.

    Transfer the chicken to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven for about 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness or until the chicken is done.  I cook my chicken until the internal temperature reaches about 160F. I highly recommend having a meat thermometer handy for cooking poultry and meat.

    Once the chicken is done, take the chicken out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

    Ladle a bit of the sauce onto four plates.  Place a piece of chicken on the sauce and garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley.  Serve with coconut rice and fresh greens with a sesame dressing.

    Sweet and Spicy Apricot Sauce

    ½ cup apricot preserves

    1-2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

    3 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce from Thai kitchen

    ¼ cup water, white wine, sherry or Saki

    In a bowl mix together all the ingredients.  You can lightly warm the sauce in a small pan stove top or in the microwave.  Don’t over warm or the sauce will be too runny.  The sauce will thin once it’s paired with the warm chicken.

    Grilling Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More

    10 Sizzling Summer Sauces

    Nectarine Chutney with Grilled Halibut // Karista's Kitchen

    If you haven’t noticed by now I’m a saucy gal. 😉

    We love sauces here at the Bennett Camp.   All kinds of sauces, salsa, compotes, drizzles, chutney’s and relishes.  You name it, I can top it with a sauce.

    So, in honor of all things saucy (and summer) I thought I’d share with you my 10 favorite sizzling summer sauces.  Enjoy!

    1.  A very special Chimichurri Sauce and my most favorite sauce of all.  Fantastic over grilled beef or grilled fish.  It’s a plate lickin’ good sauce!

    chimichurri sauce

    Chimichurri Sauce

    2.  Savory Strawberry Sauce.  So perfect for grilled salmon but just as delicious with grilled chicken.

    Savory Strawberry Sauce

    Savory Strawberry Sauce with Grilled Salmon

    3.  Huckleberry Barbeque Sauce.  One tasty sauce over barbecue pork or chicken and a great way to use all those summer huckleberries.

    Huckleberry Barbecue Sauce

    Huckleberry Barbecue Sauce

    4.  Blueberry Ginger Salsa.  A savory fresh tasting salsa that will WOW your tastebuds!  Perfect over grilled halibut or chicken.

    blueberry ginger salsa

    Blueberry Ginger Salsa

    5.  Coconut, Lemongrass and Ginger Sauce.  I adore this sauce over grilled fish.  Almost any grilled fish but especially Black cod or Hawaiian Opah.

    coconut, lemongrass, ginger sauce

    Coconut, Lemongrass and Ginger Sauce with Grilled Fish

    6.  Mini Sweet Pepper Relish.  Perfectly delicious over grilled fresh salmon or grilled chicken.

    mini pepper relish

    Mini Pepper Relish

    7.  Spiced Dried Plum Sauce.  A favorite sauce over any grilled or roasted pork.

    spiced dried plum sauce

    Spiced Dried Plum Sauce with Grilled Pork Chops

    8.  Spicy Apricot Ginger Sauce.  Perfect with grilled shrimp, poached shrimp, coconut shrimp or shrimp cakes!

    Spicy Apricot Ginger Sauce

    Spicy Apricot Ginger Sauce with Shrimp Cakes

    9. Mexican Chocolate Sauce.  A perfect summer dessert sauce over pound cake, angel food cake, chocolate or vanilla cake or even homemade ice cream and topped with fresh papaya slices.

    Mexican Chocolate Sauce

    Mexican Chocolate Sauce with Fresh Papaya Slices

    And number 10…  Nectarine, Golden Raisin and Five Spice Powder Chutney served with Roasted Halibut or delightful over roast pork in the fall and winter months.

    Mini Pepper Relish

    Nectarine, Golden Raisin and Five Spice Powder Chutney with Grilled or Roasted Halibut

    Nectarine, Golden Raisin and Five Spice Chutney with Roasted or Grilled Halibut


    Serves 4

    2-3 cups peeled and chopped nectarines (about 2-3 large nectarines)

    ½ cup diced onions

    1 tablespoon butter

    1/3 cup golden raisins

    1 tablespoon sugar, or more if needed

    1/2 – 1 teaspoon five spice powder

    Pinch red pepper flakes

    ¼ cup white wine vinegar

    Salt and pepper to taste

    2 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter), grapeseed oil or high heat veggie oil

    1 ½ lbs fresh Halibut, cut into 3-4 pieces


    In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the tablespoon of butter.

    When the butter is melted and frothy add the onions and sauté for a minute or two to soften.

    Next, stir in the chopped nectarines, raisins, sugar, five spice powder, pinch of red pepper flakes and white wine vinegar.

    Turn the heat to low and let the chutney simmer for about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.

    While the chutney is simmering, prepare the halibut.

    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

    Add the Ghee or oil to a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat.  When the butter/oil is sizzling, add the halibut skin side down.

    Let the halibut cook for a few minutes, until the skin side is nicely browned.  Place the skillet in the oven and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the fish is flaky and cooked through.

    Remove from the oven and plate the fish.  Top each piece of fish with a few tablespoons of chutney and serve immediately.

    I like this dish with pearled couscous, brown rice, or coconut rice and mixed spring greens with a light vinaigrette.