Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fishing Around

I very rarely order fish when eating out. It's nothing against fish, the freshness of the fish, the restaurant itself, or the preparation of the dish. It is simply, very easy to execute most fish dishes for myself at home, so why bother paying double for something I can easily make for much cheaper? That's how the rationalization goes in my head anyway, but the truth is that I never really made fish all that often. That's why, when I recently gave myself the challenge of cooking new things, I made it my number one priority to make fish more often. So far I've been sticking to making fish once a week, which is a vast improvement over my previous stat of once every four months.

It turns out that fish is actually one of those things (much like pasta) that once you start, you just can't stop making. The main reason (for me) is that it's affordable and cooks really quickly, usually with minimal effort. One medium sized piece of tilapia cost me $3.19, and ended up becoming dinner and lunch the next day. Not to mention, it's generally really good for you, and super low in fat, so you can pair it with a yummy carb or sauteed veggie side and have a really well rounded meal. I'd been waiting for months to make this one recipe in particular, and finally had the chance a few days ago. It originally called for cod, but my new supermarket wasn't working with me for once, so I used tilapia. The dish still turned out great, and held up well for lunch the following day. The bread-crumb topping is super fragrant, utilizing three different types of zest, and the cheddar sage mashed potatoes are definitely worth adding to your weeknight dinner repertoire.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I already knew it'd be delicious dish because I actually tasted the dish at work once before, because it's from the March issue of Redbook magazine (where I work in the production department). That issue, with the original recipe, is on stands now, or check it out online here. Below is my version of the recipe done with tilapia (for one).

Roasted Citrus-Crumbled Tilapia with Cheddar Sage Mashed Potatoes

1 large boneless, skinless tilapia fillet
1 cup panko or plain bread crumbs
1/8 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/8 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp grated lime zest

Cheddar Sage Mashed Potatoes
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat oven to 450 F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, or have a non stick baking sheet handy.

2. Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot of water. Cook 15 minutes or until tender.

3. Meanwhile, combine panko, butter and zest until evenly blended. Season cod with salt and pepper and top with breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly to ensure it adheres to fillet. Place on baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until top is browned and fish is cooked through.

4. Drain the potatoes and return to pot. Add milk and sage and mash until smooth. Add cheese and stir until melted. Serve each mound of potatoes topped with fish. Enjoy!


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