Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pan-seared Tilapia, Green Brown Rice, and Death By Kale

Claire is reluctant to cook fish in her house, so I've been easing her into it at my house.  Fish is wonderfully easy and quick, and oh by the way, healthy too. These tilapia fillets take no time at all.  I buy them in bulk and freeze 2-3 fillets in a freezer bag.  We had this for lunch with Green Brown Rice and about 2/3 bag of Death by Kale between the two of us. More on that below...

With Lemon Chive Dressing drizzled on top...
Pan-seared Tilapia Fillets
It's distressing how easy these are to make.  You can leave off the dressing and just use a squeeze of fresh lemon if you want.  I like to add a few herbs and salt to the flour/breadcrumb mixture. Tilapia is nice because its firmer flesh holds up well in the frying pan, and its milder taste is easy on pickier palates. My twins refer to all fish as "Nemo."  You would think that this would mean that they don't like fish, but you would be wrong.  They scream, "Bite! Nemo! Bite! Nemo!" which means "Give me another bite of fish as soon as possible because my mouth is empty and I am starving to death." It almost seems cannabalistic, but then I remind myself that Nemo is a cartoon fish. Bite away, kids.

2-3 fillets of tilapia
1/2 c whole wheat flour or whole wheat breadcrumbs or both
pinch of herbs (thyme, dill, parsley, sage)
1/2 tsp salt
2 T olive oil

Mix the flour/breadcrumbs, herbs, and salt in a shallow bowl or plate. Lightly coat the tilapia fillets with 1 T olive oil, and dredge in flour/herb mixture on both sides. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Place tilapia fillets topside down in the pan on medium-high heat. Once they are golden brown, flip gently to sear the other side. Serve once tilapia is flaky and done. (Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of fillet.)

These fillets are actually huge, and will serve 2. Unless you want seconds.

Lemon Chive Dressing
A version of this was originally posted with my steelhead recipe, but this one has no sugar and I made a few other adjustments. Thanks to Diane Morgan for her original version of this wonderfully versatile sauce that works well on fish, veggies, and salad, too. Add a little water if you are going to use this for salad dressing.

2 T olive oil
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice with zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
2 T minced chives

Whisk together all ingredients except the chives. Stir in the chives and drizzle over tilapia, above.

Green Brown Rice
This was originally posted as Green Rice on our very first post, but this is a slightly different version with brown long grain rice.  You will not believe how fragrant this rice is. And what a great way to get your kids to eat more green stuff. I had some leeks to use up, so I substituted them for the green onions.  I also had 1/2 c pureed cauliflower, so I threw that in- totally optional if you happen to have steamed pureed cauliflower sitting around.

6 cups cooked brown rice
1 leek, chopped (or 3 green onions)
1/2 c basil leaves
1 1/2 c spinach
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock

In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients except cooked rice.  Fold into the warm rice until the rice is coated evenly. Serve warm.

Death By Kale
You might think kale is a garnish, but I haven't been able to stop eating kale since I made up this little gem.  I've been getting the prewashed 10 ounce bags of kale at Trader Joe's, and am working on my 3rd bag in less than 2 weeks. (We did make some kale chips with 1/2 bag.)  I even had this particular dish with some scrambled eggs one morning, and I fear I may be the first to experience Death By Kale, if that is possible.  I think it's the lemon and the salt that keeps me coming back. Pucker up, Nicole- you're going to love it.

6 cups of washed kale, coarsely chopped with most of the large ribs removed
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon (at least 3 T juice)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or wok. Add garlic once the oil is hot enough to make it sizzle.  Add the kale (it will cook down more than you would guess). Sprinkle salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Add lemon juice. Continue to saute until the kale has cooked down and the leaves are tender. Enjoy.

Please leave us a comment, especially if you know of anyone that has ever died from eating too much kale.

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