Welcome to the Menu! We love to cook here [which is just a cover for how we love to eat] and I’m thrilled to share some yum-yum for yo tum-tum! First up: Tilapia and Veggies on a bed of Jasmine Rice. Now, usually I make this meal with broccoli, too, but I completely forgot to get some today. Fail, yes. Yes, fail. But I’m trying to get used to this new Fred Meyer on 85th [versus my favorite big ol’ Ballard location]. Their produce section is all over the place.
No matter. The thing about this recipe is you can use whatever veggies [or fish or other meat or nonmeat] you want, like, or just happen to have on hand. As long as they’re fresh and natural you’re doing it right! So here’s today’s incarnation of a Sunshine classic.
Step one, make a mimosa. Florida’s Natural orange juice plus cheap, but lovely Cook’s Grand Reserve.
Gather your ingredients: cilantro, white onion, red and green bell pepper, shallot, serrano pepper, carrot, celery and ginger. And lemon! Don’t forget that lemon in the background there. This is just one lemon but I made sure to cut my wedges a bit smaller than the usual four. Also, note here that I cut up my veggies in different sizes. The smaller bits cook down into the sauce that covers the bigger bits. The bigger bits are just delicious. And, again, if this were any other tilapia meal around here, there’d be a giant bowl of broccoli.
Check out this cute ass veggie peeler! I’m not sure who it belongs to in the house, but it’s quite lovely.
Once everything is chopped, you’re looking at about twenty minutes to completion, so throw your rice in. Usually I get bulk organic jasmine rice, but, like I said, that new Fred Meyer, mmph. Let’s just say their bulk foods could use more thoughtful distribution. What rice they did offer was on the top row and the bins were small so I ended up with Golden Star. I’d never had it before, but it worked out. Go on ahead and make rice how you do. I’ve come to realize that cooking rice is very personal thing to a lot of people. I just use the straight up pot method. Almost 2 cups of water, with a cup of rice and a drop of olive oil and voila. But I do love to add spices.
In your pan, get your butter (or butter-like alternative) going. I would always rather use a little bit of real butter than a regular amount of margarine. Tastes chemically to me.
Set the stove at no more than medium temperature. Go up to medium for the veggies, but don’t forget to turn it down for the fish! The biggest veggies need the most cookin’ so in they go first.
And while they’re working, season your fish!
Spices: black pepper, garlic & herb Mrs. Dash, red pepper flake and a wee bit of kosher salt. Also, get out your biggest, toughest spatula. Do not settle for the one that’s almost this big. Get the big one. Fish is so delicate, the more spatula real estate, the better. Now, then, squeeze a lemon wedge over the veggies.
Let em go till they sweat, then add the smaller bits and squeeze some more lemon. Then make them sweat. If you find yourself in need of lubrication at this point [ahem] add a drop of olive oil instead of more butter. You’ll still have a buttery flavor, without going all Paula Deen on it.
Once your veggies are sautéed up nice, you can either empty them into another bowl or push em off to the other side of your pan. If I had the broccoli, I’d probably go for the bowl, but I figured there was enough room. Plus keeping them in the pan keeps them warm. Turn your stove down to medium-low.
It’s also important to squeeze your lemon before you season the other side or the yummy slips off. As you deplete your lemon wedges, pop in the pan. They add a rich, but subtle flavor and then omit them when it’s time to serve up.
Cook for three to five minutes on one side, then work your spatula! If your fillets fall apart, well, don’t worry, they’re still delicious. The one on the right split a bit, but you can barely tell. Just move them as little as possible.
By now your rice should be done. Fluff and prepare as a bed for your fillets. Slide your fillet and veggies on top with, you guessed it, a lil more lemon. Top with cilantro!
Freshen your mimosa. Grab your fork and get to work.
What do you think? Hungry for more Menu posts? Don’t worry. I do believe there’s something yummy right around the corner.