Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I feel sorry for the fish

potato crusted tilapia

I am not a fish eater.  Correction, I am not a cooked fish eater.  I love sushi and I can eat them everyday.  I very rarely ever buy fish or order fish.  Why you ask? When I was a little girl my mom asked me why don't you like fish?  I told her, "because I feel sorry for them."  I felt sorry they had to die for me to eat them.  Their sad eyes looking up at me.  I can see them whole as if they were alive.  When you eat beef or pork you don't see the cow or the pig but when you eat fish you can see the fish.   It also didn't help that a fish bone had gotten stuck in my brother's throat and there was a whole fiasco of choking and getting the fish bone out with tweezers.  Not a fond memory, neither for me or my brother.  Oh and the scales, don't get me started on the scales, it creeps me out.  You know those "things" that you refused to eat when you were a kid?  Maybe it was the taste, texture, smell or you just plain felt sorry for them.  I am not picky eater but there are certain "things" that I won't eat.  I will not eat liver.  Don't like the smell of it or the look of it.  I do not like tripe.  Koreans make a tripe soup that everyone loves but none for me thanks.  There is also pig's feet.  Those things will never touch these lips.  I do not have such an adverse reaction to fish as I do to liver, tripe, or pig's feet.  For heaven's sake I eat fish raw.   I heard somewhere that your palate changes every 7 years.  As I have written before about my feelings on cheese, my feelings on fish have been slowly improving.  I was recently at a work function and we had buffet for 3 whole days.  The buffet served a lot of fish, maybe because we are smack dab in the middle of lent or maybe because "other" people genuinely enjoy fish.  I had swordfish that was as good as it was going to get mass produced, breaded fish of some kind that I actually enjoyed and fish tacos.  I really want to give fish a fair shot.  It's good for you and I really don't feel sorry for them anymore.  I never felt sorry for sushi and they are fish too.  Another reason why I never experiment with fish is because Josh is not a fish fan either. I know, we are two peas in a pod.  Josh does not have adverse reactions to fish and he will eat it if presented in front of him. I guess I really should try to cook with it more....So I went to the market looking for some really fresh fish, maybe some halibut or sea bass.  The only fish that my local grocery store displayed was tilapia, catfish and salmon.  I asked the fish monger if he had any halibut and he said that they are not in season until April. Hmmm... I didn't know that.  My choices were limited so I grabbed the ever convenient Tilapia.  I had seen this particular dish on Top Chef at Le Bernardin.  Potato crusted fish of some sort with a sauce of some kind.  I really didn't want to bother with a recipe to today so I just winged it.  This is how it went.

I sliced some potatoes on the mandolin and soaked them in cold water so they would stay crispy.
Then I layered them on the fish and salt and peppered them.  This is where the film gets cut because I keep forgetting to take pictures as I cook.  I will try to be better.  I pan fried the tilapia in some butter and olive oil.  Then I took the fish out and set them aside.  I added some more butter to the pan and added minced garlic with white wine.  Let that reduce and finish it off with a touch of chicken stock and parsley.  Literally took 20 minutes to make.
Served it with some pesto angel hair pasta I made earlier today.

Potato Crusted Tilapia
Inspired by Le Bernardin

2 tilapia fillets
2 potatoes (any kind, I had red skin so that is what I used)
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

White Wine Garlic Sauce
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon parsley

Slice the potatoes in a mandolin and soak them in cold water for about 10-15 minutes.  Drain the water and pat the potatoes dry.  Salt and Pepper the tilapia and rub them with some olive oil and layer the potatoes on the fish.  Heat frying pan with tablespoon each of olive oil and butter, add the fish with the potato side down.  Let it cook on medium high heat for about 4-5 minutes.  Flip (carefully, this is where I burned myself) and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Remove the fish and set aside.  Add the remaining butter and wine.  Let that cook and reduce for about 5 minutes and add the chicken stock and parsley.  Let it cook for another minute and drizzle over fish.

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