How to Lighten Up the Holiday BBQ

Memorial Day is just around the corner and I know this because all the BBQ stuff has been moved to where you can not miss it in the grocery store, or in Costco, BJ's, or one of the many other big box operations. Usually, I'm pretty lucky and I get invited to where someone else is doing the grilling, or anything that requires a sweat.

My job is to visit a good deli and pick up something for the table that I can say I made. Sometimes, that involves a slight adjustment of what I purchase, but there have been a few rare occurrences when I actually made something from scratch. (And I do not mind saying that it passed muster, too.)

Over the last couple of years, I have obviously lightened a few things up, but I must say, when the ribs come round I do not pass. I just do not devour nearly as many as I would have in the past and I go easy on many of the sides. I also do not make a second, or third pass at the food, unless it's for fruit, if there is any.

I do have just one rule, when I'm attaining someone else's shindig and that it is that I eat what's served. I do not complain that there is not this or that, or wonder where the vegetarian food is. I can not tell you how rude that kind of thing is and how many times I've wanted to pour the bleu cheese dressing over the head of one of these whiners. Or, as one of my friends says, secretly cook all the food in lard and let them try and guess what the secret ingredient is. Lord forgive me …

If you're throwing your own BBQ, you may want to try grilling some fish. This usually cuts the calorie intake by about 50%, even if you're eating a good sized portion, which is the natural tender when we're celebrating. A couple of weeks ago, I had some simple grilled halibut, with a black bean mango salsa and it was some of the best BBQ I've ever had.

Preparing the fish is easy. Rub it with a little peanut oil and salt and pepper to taste. Make sure the grill is clean and oiled well. This very important with fish, which is much more elaborate than meat. Grill over medium heat for about 4 minutes per side.

Here's the recipe for the salsa:

2 cups cooked black beans
2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup red pepper, diced small
1/4 cup green pepper, diced small
1/4 cup orange pepper, diced small
2 Tbsp jalapeno pepper, diced small
1/2 cup red onion, diced small
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tsp ground cumin
2 Tsp Chipotle powder
1/4 cup honey

Mix all the ingredients, season with salt and pepper and let marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, or overnight. Serve with the grilled fish. Salsa can be served cold, or at room temperature.

Bon apetito!