Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tasty Tilapia Piccata

I love fish, but I hate the price. It just keeps going up, an ominous sign that overfishing and environmental degradation have reached the dinner table. Just check out the price of wild salmon. A few years ago, it was a pricey $10 or $12 a pound. Now you're lucky if it's under $20 a pound.

Tilapia, meanwhile, stays steady as rock: a consistent $7.99 a pound, day in day out. That's because it's farmed. From what I've read, it's also environmentally friendly to eat. You aren't contributing to the destruction of a species or the earth by tucking into a tilapia fillet, or so I read.

Unfortunately, it's a fish largely sans flavor. And it dries out quickly if you cook it even a minute too long.

I have found one great recipe for tilapia (soak it in milk, bread it, dot it with butter and blast it in a 500 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with lemon) and long searched for a second one. This evening, I decided to experiment. Why not pan fry the fillets in butter and olive oil and make a piccata sauce?

I love piccata sauces, a combination of olive oil, butter and chicken stock. Chicken cutlets piccata is one of my standards.

I salted and peppered the fish, dredged it in flour and seared the fillets in one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon olive oil. Unfortunately, I used too small a pan and struggled to keep them in one piece, After about 10 or 12 minutes a medium high heat, they were done.

I took the fish out of the pan and dumped in about a quarter to half cup of chicken broth, cooking for a couple of minutes while scrapping up all the goodness. Once the liquid thickened, I added a tablespoon of lemon juice and half a tablespoon of butter and dumped the sauce over the waiting fish.

The result was outstanding. The fish was flaky and moist, the dusting of flour having locked in the moisture. The sauce gave the fillets a buttery -- but not too buttery -- lemony flavor. It was like eating little pillows of flavor, melt-in-your-mouth good. It was so good, my daughter coaxed me into giving her part of my portion (can't leave a growing kid hungry, I say).

An excellent recipe, simple, quick and tasty.

1 comment:

  1. This is a delicious recipe, Chris. Thanks for the very nice Mother's Day dinner.