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Cooking Fish in the Microwave

Recent life circumstances have rendered me a lot more, shall we say, "single" than I've been for quite some time. As such, I've had to change quite a few of my shopping and cooking habits accordingly. Alas, despite various heartfelt, earnest efforts on my part throughout the years, I've come to the conclusion that man--this one, at least--cannot live on pizza alone.

Recently in the test kitchen we've been exploring new uses for the counter-space-sucking microwave (look for our story in the upcoming May issue), and one revelation has been how perfect it is for cooking fish. Now it never hurts to incorporate a little more fish into one's diet, and fortunately for me fish also happens to be sold in convenient single-serving portions!

The following recipe for Black Cod with Fennel and Orange is my latest foray into the world of microwave fish. And it comes with the added benefit of the fact that it is ready in less than five minutes and involves no pots or pans. In fact, the only dish that you have to clean is the plate on which it's served. Though I suppose the night is probably coming where I get so lazy that I just eat it out of the bag with a plastic fork like one of those bags of Fritos and chili that have become so ubiquitous it seems at weddings and catered events that I've been to lately.

Note: Microwaves can vary, so you have to check the output of yours (found on a label attached to the back). This recipe was developed using an 1100 watt microwave set to power level 7. Microwave power levels basically denote a percentage of the full power of the microwave (e.g. an 1100 watt microwave set to power level 7 is cooking with 770 watts). Sorry, but there's math involved. Basically you want to cook this at about 800 watts.

IMPORTANT: For best results, remove that morning's forgotten cup of coffee from microwave before cooking fish.

Black Cod with Fennel and Orange Hands-on time: 2 minutes Total time: 5 minutes

1 (6-ounce) cod fillet 3/8 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup thinly vertically sliced fennel bulb 1 tablespoon dry white wine 1/2 teaspoon butter 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 2 thyme sprigs 2 orange rind strips 1 garlic clove thinly sliced 1 teaspoon finely chopped fennel frond 3 orange sections 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Sprinkle fish evenly with salt; place fish in a zip-top bag. Add fennel and next 6 ingredients (through garlic). Seal bag, gently pressing as much air as possible out of bag.

2. Place bag on a microwave safe plate. Microwave at POWER LEVEL 7 (about 800 watts) for 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Cool slightly; empty contents of bag onto plate. Garnish with fennel frond and orange; drizzle with olive oil.