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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Broiled Tilapia

I read in my new How To Cook Everything cookbook on page 278, about different ways of cooking white fish.  I decided to try the first recipe listed, which is for broiled flatfish or other white fillets

In thirty-five years of cooking, I had only used the broiler once before when I made French-onion soup, so this was a new cooking experience for me.  In the past, we always had concerns about handling the smoke and smell generated when broiling meats.

I prepared by getting some tilapia fillets out the freezer and started them thawing in cold water in the sink.  While the tilapia thawed, I prepared the remainder of the meal.  I retrieved some frozen green beans that I placed in a pan, and then I peeled and sliced some fresh carrots.  We already had some fresh brown rice cooked earlier in the day that I could reheat when it was time to eat.  I turned on the oven and selected the broil function, then set the temperature to 450 degrees.

I found our broiler pan and brushed the bottom of the pan with a very thin coating of grape seed oil.  I opened the individual packages of tilapia and placed them on a cutting board.  The recipe calls for fish that is about 1/4-inch thick but these tilapia pieces were about 1/2-inch thick so I sliced each piece in half.  I placed the thin tilapia pieces into the broiler pan.

The cooking instructions give several options for boiling the fish and I wanted to try out a couple of different recipes.  I decided to use the basic cooking technique, which is giving the top of the fish a brushing with oil, and then a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and also a mustard and herbs coating.  I prepared mustard coating by placing about two-tablespoons of Dijon mustard in a ramekin, adding about one-teaspoon of white sugar, some lemon juice, and about one-teaspoon of fresh rosemary.  I stirred this mixture together and spread it on one-half of the fish.

I turned on the range top to cook the frozen beans, and placed the broiler pan in the oven for four minutes.  While everything was cooking, I washed and sliced a couple of tomatoes for color, and a lemon that we could squeeze over our cooked fish.  After the four minutes were up, I checked the fish and while it was close to being cooked, it needed another minute to cook the thicker areas.

We had a wonderful dinner with tilapia, rice, tomato, carrots, and beans with lemon garnish.  Most of the tilapia was perfectly cooked and was light and flaky.  There were a couple of small areas that were thicker and were not quite cooked all the way through, but I microwaved those small areas and they were fine.  We enjoyed the basic preparation of the fish as well as the fish with the mustard and rosemary coating; it was nice to have both options during the meal.

The next time I broil tilapia, I may try some of the other suggested ways of preparing the fish: garlic parsley sauce, dill butter, and sweet soy.  We are enjoying different ways of preparing basic foods, the variety of recipes in the cookbook has added to our appreciation of the different foods we consume.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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