Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Wednesday evening is usually my evening to knock around in the kitchen. I felt like eating something light, which generally means fish, and we happened to have some fillets of tilapia handy from our last Protein Foraging Expedition to Costco.

What to do with the fish? A month or so ago, the Missus had discovered an interesting recipe on the Weight Watchers (!) website. When she tried it at for a dinner party, using dried tart cherries in lieu of the sweet cherries the recipe specified, it was a resounding success. So I took a crack at it.

I thawed out the fillets, salted and peppered those bad boys, then sautéed ’em in a smidgen of olive oil. Then I sweated down a small chopped onion in the same pan for a few minutes, then added a few tablespoons of white vermouth (“Once In A While, Useful For Something Other Than A Martini!™”) to deglaze the pan, followed by 1/3 cup vegetable broth and a half-cup of dried tart cherries that had been soaked in hot water to soften them up. This made a nice sauce, which I dumped over the fish. A tablespoon of toasted almond slices finished it off.

Sautéed Tilapia with Cherries and Toasted Almonds.

By way of sides, we had some steamed brown rice (ya gotta have starch) and asparamagoosalum. The latter is tasty enough by itself, but I tarted it up with a little olive oil, piment d’espelette (Basque red pepper), and Balinese sea salt. Suddenly, I had a side dish that would have felt at home in any fine dining establishment...but which I could eat (if I so chose) in my Simpsons lounging pants. Schweeet!

Asparagus with piment d’espelette and Balinese sea salt.

I don’t usually bother to peel the lower part of the asparagus stems, preferring to simply chop off the bottommost inch. With white asparagus, ya gotta peel the stalks...and since white asparagus is brittle, it’s a major pain the ass to do it without snapping half of the stalks in two. Give me the green stuff any old day.

The Missus, to be honest, does not care overmuch for the Costco tilapia, which has a subtle metallic flavor undertone. I don’t notice it too much - that’s what the damn sauce is for! - but once we work through the rest of this load, we’ll buy our tilapia at Fresh Market. Or we’ll blow it off and get salmon instead. It’s hard to screw salmon up, unless you really overcook it.

And, just in case you were wondering, no, we don’t eat like this all the time. But I never seem to get around to posting shots of the cans of beans and Stagg’s chili, or of the bags of Jolly Time popcorn.

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