Almond Crusted Tilapia

Do you ever get home starving from a really long day then realize there isn’t much to eat in the entire house?  Well, that happened to me a couple days ago and is how I came up with this almond crusted tilapia and let me tell you, I was quite impressed!  It was extremely easy to make and it turned out really well!  You just need six ingredients… ready?

1 ) 1/4C. panko

2.) 1/2 C.roasted almonds, put into a food processor

3.) a few tablespoons of garlic aioli

4.) 4 fillets of tilapia

5.) a few tablespoons of olive oil

6.) 2 Tbsp. butter

The night before, we had bought some tilapia.  Of course I hadn’t planned on how to prepare the fish and didn’t stock up on lemons or herbs while at the grocery store.  I figured there were plenty of ingredients at home.  Boy was I wrong.  I came home, opened the refrigerator and saw lettuce, sandwich meats, sandwich spreads and a whole lot of random sauces used in asian cuisine.  I saw my handy garlic mustard aioli, which was featured in my sandwich post and figured I could do something with it.  I looked through the cabinets and saw some leftover panko crumbs.  There weren’t enough panko crumbs so I started searching for something that could replace bread crumbs.  My eyes landed on some roasted almonds!

Genius.  Putting chopped almonds on fish gives a plain fish like tilapia, a lot more texture and taste.  It’s also an alternative for when you’re trying to stay away from fried foods.  Also, since we’re using the garlic mustard aioli, chopping garlic and stinking our fingers isn’t an option.  Surprisingly, the aioli went very well with the nuttyness of the almonds.  This dish has definately fallen into the weekly rotation.

There was some leftover steamed cauliflower and half a red bell pepper I needed to use.  Since I’m on some “healthy eating” phase this month, I ended up making cauliflower mash instead of mashed potatoes.  And for carbs, I just roasted a sweet potato that was laying around then sliced it up.

Instructions for Almond Crusted Tilapia:

In a food processor, chop the almonds.  Any roasted almonds will do.  I found a jar of unsalted roasted mixed nuts and picked out all of the almonds.  You can add a dash of salt if you’d like.  Pulse the almonds until they’re chopped.  Make sure they haven’t turned into sawdust.

On a large plate, mix the chopped nuts and panko crumbs together and spread across the plate.

Pat dry your tilapia and spread about a tablespoon of the garlic mustard aioli on one side of the fish.  Place the fish mustard side down onto the panko and almond mixture.  Place about another tablespoon onto the other side of fish.  Making sure the fish is covered with almonds on the underside, flip the fish so the otherside can be coated also.

Make sure both sides are covered well!

While doing this, prepare a large frying pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.  When it’s hot and ready for you, carefully add the pieces of fish.  Listen to the sizzling!  After about 4 minutes, carefully flip each piece and cook for about 4 minutes more.  Repeat with the last 2 pieces.

The fish is done when the meat is flakey and easy broken apart.  I determine whether the meat is cooked or not by pushing my spatula down onto the meat and if it’s soft, it’s ready!  If I feel a little firmness, I know it’s still raw inside.

I also made the fish with some garlic cauliflower puree and topped it off with some arugula.  The sharpness and crispness of the arugula really compliments the almonds and the mellow flavor of the puree and the crunchiness of the almonds goes really well with the smoothness of the puree.

Enjoy!

Foil Wrapped Fish & Salsa

As a young child, I wasn’t fed very much fish.  The only fish I was really introduced to was salmon so as I grew older, I wasn’t a very huge fan of other kinds of fish.  At restaurants, I usually didn’t touch the fish dish unless it was fried and dipped into some sort of sauce.  Fish often tasted “fishy” and I had no interest in eating it.  I learned to realize that most of the fish I ate either wasn’t fresh or was it cooked correctly.  Fish is very delicate and is hard to cook when you’re not too familiar with it.  Pan frying it and leaving it in the pan for too long or overbaking it can dry the fish out and can make it very unappetizing.  It can also leave your house smelling like something died, which leads me to this baked foil wrapped fish. 

Wrapping fish with foil then baking it produces an extremely juicy and soft piece of meat.  The fish is cooked by the steam that is trapped in the foil packet and all the flavors of ingredients get mushed together into one big deliciousness!  Not only is it delicious, it’s healthy and will keep you full for hours.

Someone had given us a ton of tennis ball sized lemons.  I don’t like lemonade very much so I’ve been thinking of other ways to use them.  What goes better with fish than lemons?? The skin was pretty thick so I trimmed them down a little.  That way, nothing would taste bitter.  It also made the lemons look a little prettier. ..Perrrfect. 

There’s not much to this.  It’s tasty, it’s easy to make, and it’s also an easy cleanup!  That is… if you don’t spill all of the juice that’s in the foil!  Look at all that yummy juice.

I ended up making some brown rice cooked in chicken broth with a tad of butter.  This dish has made it into our regular rotation, whether it be lunch or dinner.

If you’re scared of cooking fish, start out with wrapping it in foil and baking it.  I promise you won’t regret trying it this way.

Foil Wrapped Fish

Servings: 4

White Roughie (I bought the frozen package from Trader Joes.  It comes with 2 fillets.  Defrost and cut each piece in half.  Any white fish, such as halibut, can be used)

4 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

4 cloves of garlic, minced

6 basil leaves, chopped

1 lemon, sliced

extra virgin olive oil

1 C. cherry tomatoes, cut each tomato in half

1 can black beans

1 can whole corn kernals

salt and pepper

4 pieces of foil, enough to wrap and fold over the fish

Salsa

Combine the tomatoes, beans, and corn into a medium bowl.  Add some salt and pepper to taste and mix.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lay a piece of foil flat.  Put about 3 spoons of the salsa mix onto the center of the foil  and place a piece of fish on top.  Drizzle a little of the oil over the fish and sprinkle some more salt and pepper.  Put about a tablespoon of butter on the fish along with some basil.  Place 2 slices of lemon on top of everything and fold the foil over the fish creating a little foil baggy.  Do this for the rest of the fish.

To create the foil bag, bring up 2 sides of the foil opposite from each other, up  and together.  Roll the top down until you can’t roll anymore.  Roll the open sides inward. 

Place the foil wrapped fish on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

Open one of the packets to see if the fish is cooked.  If the fish looks almost done, reseal the packet and take everything out of the oven.  Let sit for about 5 minutes.  The fish will continue cooking and will be perfectly cooked when it’s time to eat.

Pour yourself a glass of white wine and enjoy!