Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tilapia with Lemon Thyme

The weather is hot and the tilapia was on sale for just $5.99/lb, so the hubs and I had a light but delicious dinner on the cheap.

For the tilapia:
I started out by seasoning the fish with salt and then lightly dredging it in a bit of flour in order to create more of a crust, as I had decided to sauté the fish in my non-stick frying pan rather than bake it in aromatic liquids and tinfoil in the oven, which is often my modus operandi when it comes to white fish.

I added the fish to the hot pan in a bit of olive oil, and when it was time to flip the fish (opaque halfway through) I added half of a diced shallot to the pan, as well as about a tablespoon of fresh lemon thyme.

If you have never encountered lemon thyme, I suggest you search it out. The smell is so vibrant and... well, lemony, that it brightens any dish right up. I already love to cook with fresh thyme, but this was much more exciting for me.

Once the fish was cooked through I set it aside under some tinfoil to stay warm while I made the sauce which consisted of: olive oil, leftover minced shallot, salt, about a teaspoon of flour (whisked in and cooked for at least a minute before adding), half a cup of white wine (stir and reduce for a few minutes), the juice of one lemon (stir and reduce again) and a finishing of more lemon thyme. Super flavorful and instantly made the tilapia much more interesting.

For the veg: I very thinly sliced one smallish zucchini into rounds and cooked the slices super fast in some olive oil and salt, and finished it with half a teaspoon of lemon zest right before removing it from the pan. The idea was for the zucchini to still taste of fresh zucchini and still have a bit of bite left to it, but not be raw. Another option I suppose would be to blanch it in boiling water, but I wanted to incorporate the lemon zest, so I chose the quick sauté instead.

For the side: Because I had lemon going as a theme throughout, I decided to make a quick and creamy orzo dish. (And it's much more figure-friendly than my favorite orzo concoction.) I also decided to make orzo because if we only ate the fish and zucchini, we would be starving in about an hour or two.
I cooked off the orzo first and set it aside. Then I added some olive oil to the pan and grated one large clove of garlic in and let that simmer for a minute or so. Then I added a splash of white wine (maybe 3 tablespoons?) and let it cook down for a couple minutes. Then I added about the same amount of half & half (or cream, whatever you have in the fridge is fine) and stirred well to combine. (I was eyeballing it all just so I'd have enough to coat the orzo I'd cooked for the two of us, but not enough to make a soupy sauce.)
Add a pinch of salt and check the seasoning before adding the zest of one lemon (minus the small bit used in the zucchini) and then add the cooked pasta back in. Stir to combine, and add any leftover chopped lemon thyme (I had about a teaspoon worth left) and call it tasty.
 And tasty it was.


Jennifer said...

That looks fantastic. I am very glad your photo capabilities are up and running again.

Joe Ambrosino said...

Very nicely done, dear. And did the hubs enjoy, or did he pick out all the pieces of lemon thyme(Kidding).You may have us for dinner anytime, and we will of course, reciprocate!

RocknRollGourmet said...

The hubs absolutely enjoyed it! To the point where I was making bluefish the other night (I'm having luck finding 2 portions of fresh fish for $6 total) and when I asked the hubs how he'd like it prepared, since it's a more robust fish that can stand up to marinades and serious spices, he simply asked if I could make it "the way you did last week".
Definite success.