Something Fishy

Psari Plaki

We’ve been eating lots of fish around here lately. I keep wanting salmon, but all we keep finding is farmed Atlantic salmon, and that’s just a no-go since we’ve been spoiled by wild Pacific Northwest salmon. So Pacific cod and farmed tilapia have been on the menu instead.

While unsuccessfully trying to track down a recipe for Greek lamb chops (the very same I just wrote about the other day) in my Food and Wine of Greece cookbook, I instead came across psari plaki, a baked fish recipe first called to my attention by Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries. I was intrigued and decided to give it a go, with a few adjustments for what I had on hand, namely half an onion, some scallions, and canned tomatoes. It was pretty tasty, but I am still tempted to try Barbara’s variation, which calls for slices of lemon and appeared to pack a bigger punch flavor-wise. I served it with some garlic-olive oil couscous, tossing a handful or two of torn baby spinach leaves into that as it steamed, as a way to sneak a few more veggies into the meal.

Mustard tilapia

Once the cod was eaten up, we promptly went back out and bought an even bigger package of tilapia fillets, which turned out to be fodder for a good three meals. For a start, I did a simple pan-saute with a mushroom-mustard sauce and served with pancetta peas (courtesy Marcella) and a wild rice blend. This was a quickie meal, which I am really appreciating at the moment. Jeremy liked it a lot, and tried to come back for seconds, but I stuck his plate in the dishwasher while he was feeding the pup her dinner. Oops. (I blame it on preggo-brain. At least I didn’t put his dirty plate in the fridge and the leftovers in the dishwasher… yet.)

Tilapia in Mustardy Mushroom Cream Sauce

I pretty much followed the recipe this time, though I made sure to really oil my skillet because I know how delicate fish can stick to the stainless. I used rehydrated chopped mushrooms for convenience, and whole grain mustard because I just like it better. It made the most sense to me to finish cooking the tilapia—which didn’t take long at all—and remove it before adding the broth and mushrooms to start the sauce, so that’s what I did. This sauce could certainly be used with chicken also, or even pork, I would imagine.

4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Cooking spray
3/4 Cfat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 oz portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced (fresh or rehydrated)
2 T whipping cream
2 T Dijon or whole grain mustard

Sprinkle fish with thyme, pepper, and salt. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish; cook 1 minute on each side. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, uncovered, 1 minute or until mushrooms are tender. Remove fish from pan; keep warm.

Add cream and mustard to pan; stir with a whisk until well combined. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve sauce over fish.

Source: Adapted from Epicurious.

Tilapia fish sticks

We still had like 2 pounds of fish to eat up after that, and of all things, Jeremy requested fish sticks for dinner the next night. I based mine on a straightforward recipe from Eating Well. I must admit we ate slightly less “well,” however, because I used fresh pugliese bread crumbs instead of whole wheat ones and omitted the whole wheat cereal flakes. I dredged them in whole wheat flour, at least. I also used my own blend of spices, but no longer recall what all I threw in. Remember, as you’re dredging, to keep one hand for dry operations and one for wet—it cuts down on the need to scrub gooey crumb build-up from your fingers! To go with the fish sticks, I microwaved some small russets and made twice-baked potatoes with bacon, cheddar and broccoli. They went in the oven just before the fish and completed our finger-food dinner nicely, especially since they served as a vehicle for vegetables.

Tilapia Fish Sticks

Canola oil cooking spray
1 C whole-wheat dry breadcrumbs (see Shopping Tip) or 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1 C whole-grain cereal flakes
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites, beaten
1 lb tilapia fillets, cut into 1/2-by-3-inch strips

Preheat oven to 450°F. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet; coat well with cooking spray. Place breadcrumbs, cereal flakes, lemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt in a food processor or blender and process until finely ground. Transfer to a shallow dish.

Place flour in a second shallow dish and egg whites in a third shallow dish. Dredge each strip of fish in the flour, dip it in the egg and then coat all sides with the breadcrumb mixture. Place on the prepared rack. Coat both sides of the breaded fish with cooking spray.

Bake until the fish is cooked through and the breading is golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.

Source: Loosely adapted from Eating Well.

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