Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tilapia Piccata: The Verdict

The final dish, served with a roasted artichoke and a winter fruit salad

The Process:

I was shocked at how straightforward the recipe was. With help from my apartment family, we chopped all our veggies, pounded and floured our meat, browned and deglazed, and were eating in no time. In fact, the item that took the longest was the side dish!

The Verdict:

One of my roommates declared that this was his favorite dish I have ever made, and he is not one to lie about such important things! In addition to being delectable, it was simple enough to whip up in about an hour. I love how pounding the meat (I used tilapia as well as chicken) makes it cook so quickly, the coat of flour makes browning a painless process, and the deglazing of the pan with broth and wine adds aroma, flavor, and volume to the dish without slaving away to make a fancy sauce. In the future, I would probably let my deglazing liquids simmer a little longer before serving them as a sauce... it was a bit strong on the wine. Nevertheless, everyone was happy.


The more coverage you get, the better browning you get.
Take the dredging seriously!
Orzo was not available at the store where I did the shopping, but the even more petite seme di melone was, so I used that as our grain. It was delicious for leftovers with a little bit of the sauce on top. I also mixed a few spoonfuls of the sauce in with some mayo to make a last-minute dipping sauce for our roasted artichokes. Perfect.


Deglazing with white wine, lemon juice, and veggie broth

For a simple meal that is a definite crowd pleaser, I highly recommend the not-quite-Italian dish. Whether you make it with tilapia or chicken, the recipe is wonderful.



The Recipe: Tilapia Piccata, adapted from Giada de Laurentiis on The Food Network
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 tilapia filets
  • salt and pepper
  • flour, enough for dredging
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced very thin
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/8 cup brined capers, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Preparation:
  • Lay fish fillets side by side on a sturdy surface. Cover with plastic wrap and pound lightly with a weighted pan or meat tenderizer until about 1/4-1/2 inch thick (don't demolish the fish, but a few quick bops will help it cook faster and more evenly.)
  • Season fish with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour and shake of excess.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tbsp buter with 3 tbsp oil. When melted, add two pieces of tilapia and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • When the bottom is browned (don't the fish move around until this happens... just a quick peek should do), flip and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove the fish from the pan and set aside. Refill the pan with 2 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp oil and repeat the cooking process with the remaining tilapia filets.
  • Once all filets are browned and out of the pan, toss the shallots in the pan with the remaining butter until soft.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon juice, wine, stock, and capers to the pan. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, scraping off the cooked bits of flour and fish.
  • Return the fish to the pan and simmer for about 3 minutes. Take out the fish and plate. Add the final 2 tbsp of butter and whisk vigorously.
  • Pour the sauce over the plated fish and garnish with parsley.
Round 1: Chicken, pounded for quicker cooking

Round 2: Tilapia, with the butter browning even more around the edges

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