Friday, September 30, 2011
Tilapia with Tomato-Herb Pan Sauce
Thanks to my nutrition class, I was forced to acknowledge some wince-inducing nutrient imbalances, so I've been trying lately to really vary my diet and experiment with more in the kitchen. So, onto my grocery list went fish and cherry tomatoes.
Now, the cherry tomatoes bit may seem odd to you, but here's the thing: I don't particularly love tomatoes. Tomato sauce, yes - give me a great basil marinara and I will grin from ear to ear. But tomatoes?
Raw ones kinda give me the skeeves.
And get cherry tomatoes out of my sight. Pretty much completely. They're so much worse than regular tomatoes, especially raw. Gag me.
But for the sake of my nutrition, cherry tomatoes were purchased. And cooked.
And consumed with delight.
I had seen Chicken with Tomato-Herb Pan Sauce all over the place - like here and here and here - and I was really intrigued despite my loathing for all things tomato. But I looked at how they were cooked and thought, blackened and juicy with herbs and wine is good... so I faced my skeevy feelings and made the dish, just substituting tilapia filets for the chicken.
Lord Almighty, was that a fantastic idea.
The tilapia was light and flaky, complimented beautifully by the richness of the tomato pan sauce. And herb butter may be the best culinary invention ever. Besides frosting.
Even better, this meal came together in pretty much record time. For something that looks, smells, and tastes this fancy, it was nothing short of magical! And now I fully understand the blogosphere's obsession with this dish, since I'm obsessed with it too. I'll have to try it with the original chicken sometime :)
Tilapia with Tomato-Herb Pan Sauce
Source: slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2011 via Cook Like a Champion
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1 1/2 tsp fresh)
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tilapia filets
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups (11-12 oz) cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup vegetable broth
splash of dry wine (white is preferable but I used red and it turned out just fine)
In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, oregano, and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to its lowest possible temperature and measure out flour onto a plate or a sheet of wax paper. Season the fish filets liberally with salt and pepper on both sides, then dredge lightly in flour, shaking off the excess.
Melt one tablespoon of the seasoned butter with the olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high when the butter stops foaming. Place the fish filets in the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until the fish is browned on the outside and white and flaky on the inside. Transfer the fish to a clean oven-safe pan or plate and place in the oven while you make the pan sauce.
Increase the heat under the skillet to high and add the tomatoes to the pan, stirring occasionally until they begin to char and burst. Add the remaining tablespoon of herb butter to the pan. Crush the tomatoes slightly with your wooden spoon to help them release their juices, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the flavorful brown bits on the bottom. Stir in the broth and wine and allow to cook down for a couple minutes. Remove the fish from the oven, adding any juices that accumulated on the dish to the skillet. Plate the tilapia filets and top with the tomato sauce - the combination is particularly tasty with rice and a green vegetable. Enjoy!