My poor wife is still fighting off a lingering, low-grade cold that limits her appetite for "challenging" dishes, so she requested a bland, er ... delicate meal tonight: Sole, haddock or other delicate fish, simply prepared without oil or butter or a lot of exotic flavors and spices.

I complied with the following, which passed muster with both of us and the cats, and made a fine match with a crisp Oregon Pinot Gris.

Rinse and dry two fillets of sole and put them on a plate; squirt the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 orange over them, sprinkle with salt, and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Put 3 cups of water in a large skillet with a scallion, the rinds of the lemon and orange, 1 teaspoon salt and a 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a chef's knife. Bring to the boil and let simmer over low heat for 10 or 15 minutes.

Gently slide the sole fillets into the simmering liquid, bring to the boil, then instantly turn down to a very low simmer, cover, and let poach, taking care that the water only ripples but doesn't boil hard, for 3 or 4 minutes or just until the fish is cooked through.

Carefully lift out the fillets with two spatulas, being careful that they don't break, and serve on a warm platter. You can dress them with lemon juice, a little melted butter and a sprinkle of paprika if you want, but they're really fine just au naturel.