We saw this made on a TV show, Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I can’t find a recipe from the show, the search function is not good at all at their site and I’ve tried before to find another recipe with no success. I subbed tilapia for the flounder they used but it’s pretty much the same, otherwise.
I made some polenta for the first time, ever. Pretty simple, stir cornmeal into salted boiling water, lower the heat and stir for about 15 minutes, then add butter. I remember my mother making “mush” for my dad but she was pretty dismissive of it, saying it was something “them boys from the bottoms ate”. I guess her attitude rubbed off on me. Shame, that.
Grill the sliced polenta in olive oil, lay a piece of blackened fish atop that, spoon on the sauce, add a few sauteed vegetables and there you go.
The sauce? It was a gumbo in all but name. Make a roux, stir in the trinity, season with Creole spices, add stock and simmer for a while, then add the crawfish tails and shrimp right at the end. I made this thicker than I would as a gumbo, add more stock and some okra and it would be great over rice.
Farm raised tilapia is becoming common at the market and is pretty good. These I fried after a quick dip in Andy’s Cajun Breading. The slaw is the usual cabbage plus whatever else I can find, this one has onions, Anaheim peppers, carrots, celery, celery seed, celery salt, and seasoned rice vinegar. The tartar sauce is heavy with chopped green and kalamata olives plus horseradish sauce, sweet pickle relish, and lemon juice.
The beans are from a can with added this ‘n that, more onion, peppers, bbq sauce,ketchup, garlic and etc., and then baked in a medium sized cast iron skillet until it bubbles. We bought the potato salad ready made from the deli section and we are suddenly aware of a thing called “Loaded Baked Potato Salad”. I am flabberghasted to learn of this just yesterday. Where has it been all my life? We will be making this stuff shortly.
Keeping with our light and fresh theme – grilled fish (you can use any firm white fish you like) and a fresh fruit salsa recipe makes for an easy dinner. Add steamed rice, fresh kale and Melon Balls in Lime Syrup for a complete meal.
Grilled Fish w/Mango & Papaya Salsa
- 1 papaya
- 1 mango
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped fine
- 3 tbsp limejuice
- 1/2 small jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lb tilapia, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 lemon, quartered
Seed and peel papaya. Peel mango and remove pit. Dice papaya and mango in a bowl. Toss with onion and limejuice. Stir in jalapeno, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Chill. Brush tilapia with oil, season with salt & pepper. Broil or grill for 3 to 4 minutes each side, until it flakes easily. Do not overcook. Serve topped with fruit mixture and lemon wedges.
I asked around for some peach recipes and Kirk sent me a list of things he could do with peaches and asked me to choose. I decided the fish sounded like a good idea. I like using fruits with meats, fishes and poultry, so this one appealed to me. Here’s Kirk:
OK, let’s start with editorial comments. Tilapia is a fish with almost no flavor of its own. Worse, the odds are you’re going to get farmed tilapia, which is going to be even blander. When you make tilapia, then, you’ve got two choices. You can go for extreme subtlety to tease out the taste of the fish. Or you can go for any darn flavor you want and let the fish provide texture. Here, I’m taking the low road. We’re going to end up with PEACH flavors on a tender fish texture.
Second editorial comment. I’m in the process of returning to cooking for just two. As a result that’s what you’re going to get for recipes – serves two adults who don’t pick at their food. A whole Tilapia is one to two pounds, of which between half and 2/3s is food for most USians (ie, we don’t pick the bones or eat the head — and we might leave the skin alone as well.)
- Two whole (cleaned [ means gutted ] and scaled) tilapia – heads optional.
- One peach, peeled, pitted, and crushed, measured.
- 1/2 measure brown sugar.
- 1/2 measure white sugar.
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Dash of salt.
- One peach, peeled, pitted, and crushed.
- 4 ounces crushed pecans.
- 4 ounces butter.
- 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder.
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder.
- Dash of salt.
Overview: Soak some toothpicks or skewers. Make the glaze. Make the filling. Stuff the tilapia and seal cavity closed. Grill for three minutes. Turn, spread glaze over finished side, grill for two more minutes. Move to finish plate with glazed side down and glaze the unfinished side. Let rest under heat trap for three to five minutes.
Glaze. Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until peaches seem translucent — about 20 minutes. Beware, the high sugar content is easy to burn. By the way, this is basically a homemade peach preserve. Remove from heat, but it’s fine to use this warm.
Brown butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in pecans, cocoa and cayenne, and cook for another 30 seconds or so till it’s all hot and the pecans begin to brown. Add the peaches and remove from heat.
Make sure your tilapia are cleaned and scaled. Stuff half the filling into each fish’s belly. Use toothpicks or skewers that you’ve soaked in water for a few moments to close the bellies.
Heat your grill, and either oil the grate or oil the griddle on which you’ll hold the fish. Put the fish over direct heat about three-four inches above the coals for three minutes. Turn, and spread about half the glaze over the two fish’s upward sides. Let cook for two more minutes and move to a plate or pan, glaze side down. Yes, it’s going to stick to that pan. Glaze the side that’s now up, and put a lid or foil over the top to trap the heat. Let the fish rest for three to five minutes. Uncover and serve.
A service trick. Instead of using a pan for the rest, you could put the fish on the plates off which you’re going to eat. That way you don’t lose the bottom glaze to the pan. If you do this I recommend prewarming the plates.
A vinaigrette fruit salad – the easy way is a standard fruit salad tossed with a basic vinaigrette dressing, but the bananas usually used might be peculiar to some tastes. Alternatively any pickled, cold dish such as a vinaigrette slaw or sweet and sour red cabbage or carrot-daikon slaw. The sour will help balance the sweet of the fish, the cold will handle both the stove heat and the cayenne heat (not that there’s much in this.) Steamed greens of some sort – in this case I’d prefer steamed nettles, but any earthy green (kale, mustard greens, etc) will do.
Alternatively, buttered small beets will serve the same purpose. The earthy taste grounds the meal and helps make it seem more filling. Crisp, lightly toasted bread (such as a baguette) with a parmesan butter (1 part parmesan, three parts butter, whipped together) as support.
I’m off with family, getting ready for my youngest brother’s wedding. I’ll be the one in the pretty bridesmaid dress, my 3-year-old niece and I playing princess in our matching dresses while mom and dad get hitched. But I didn’t forget you guys. I thought a fish recipe would be nice since we haven’t had one in a while. This fish is courtesy of my friend Alton Gunn.
On the board tonight:
- Pico De Gallo Fish
- Tomato-Avocado Chutney
- Fresh Pineapple w/Ice Cream
Pico De Gallo Fish
- 4 fish fillets (tilapia, catfish, haddock or other)
- Pico De Gallo seasoning*
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 lime, quartered
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle each fillet lightly with Pico De Gallo, salt and pepper, place in a lightly oiled baking dish (or in foil if you want to grill it instead). Place cilantro and a lime slice on top of each fillet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until fish flakes easily.
*or use chili powder and a touch of cumin.
- 2 avocados, cubed
- 2 tomatoes, cubed
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp limejuice
- salt & pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together & chill.
Hint: when cubing an avocado, it’s easiest if you cut it in half, remove the pit, slice lengthwise & crosswise without cutting the skin, then scoop out with a spoon. No peeling needed.
- 4 fish fillets (tilapia, catfish, haddock or other)
- 1 cup rice (this would be a good time to try a new rice)
- Pico De Gallo seasoning
- Fresh cilantro
- 1 lime
- 2 avocado
- 2 tomatoes
- Fresh pineapple
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream
Also: salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, limejuice