Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tilapia Two Ways

Fast and easy cooking continues this week. I think my body is still recovering from writing my feature article, so it hasn’t been very happy with me when I put heavy things into it. Plus with all the baking I’ve done the past week, I just don’t want to spend another hour slaving away in the kitchen merely to feed myself. By the end the last batch of cookies for the day are out of the oven, I just want to sprawl out on chair and not have to even worry about making dinner.
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I made two tilapia dishes this week. Partly because it’s pretty fast to prepare after I’ve defrosted it from my freezer the night before; partly because I needed a break from tofu and soup. Tilapia is a fish with a really mild flavour, so if you’re not a big fan of fish but would like to start eating more fish, this is a good choice. It also has a firm texture, akin to cod (although cod is more flakier), making it really easy to handle, and ensuring that it won’t flake out on you (pun so intended!) while cooking.

The first version was simply dredging the fillet in a mixture of cornmeal, dried parsley (if you have fresh parsley, even better!), salt, pepper, and some finely grated lemon zest and Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese. I pan-fried it for about three minutes on each side. The cornmeal crust gives the fish a great crunchy exterior, and the herbs, lemon zest and parmesan flavours the fish really nicely. I served them with a side of roasted root vegetables: carrots, parsnips and beets roasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin, and drizzled with a honey-balsamic glaze.

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The second version was just as easy. The fish was dredged in a bit of flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, and pan-fried like above. I served that on a bed of caponata. Well, more like a bastardized version of caponata, since I’m pretty sure every nonna out there would cringe at my method of making the eggplant “stew.” Best of all, caponata tastes fabulous all on its own, or tossed with your favourite pasta.


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