>> Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I refused to touch it raw. Instead, I read the directions to the recipe -- handing off ingredients when necessary. Stephen massaged the tilapia with olive oil first. Then rubbed in a mix of spices. I preheated the oven. Stephen placed the the fillets on foil to bake.
This fish dinner was . . . happening.
17 minutes at 350 degrees. The tilapia turned from a light pink to an opaque white. It didn't smell as fishy as I worried it would. (For that, I was ever-so thankful.) And still, the idea eating it -- the e.n.t.i.r.e fillet -- felt incredibly strange to me.
The first bite was rather anticlimactic. It tasted like nothing, really. Well, nothing . . . cloaked in cayenne pepper. (I think I may have added too much on purpose, like how I used to drench steak in A1 Sauce.) I worried mostly if it was cooked through. You see, I have such little experience with fish, chicken, beef, etc. (If we're being honest, I've only ever cooked shrimp. Once.) So, I don't know what's considered "done" or "safe" or whatever other words you use to describe OK-to-eat-ness.
The texture is what presented next. Tender. Flaky. Chewy. "Will there be bones?" was my first question. Stephen said: "Maybe." Then I kept asking: "Is it done?" I was half expecting him to spit it out and say: "Stop eating it! Unsafe!" (After all, it was my first time. Something was bound to go wrong. I was just waiting for it.)
Instead, he kept chewing and commenting on the bold flavor and how well the avocado spread muted the fire-hot spiciness. Dare I say it was . . . good? Maybe even better than good, but the "ick-factor" had set in, and I only finished half of mine. Stephen happily forked down the rest.
No weird after-taste.
No genuine enjoyment, unfortunately. (I expected that, though.)
No weird digestive issues.
ORANGE-CAYENNE (BAKED) TILAPIA
Modified from this recipe on allrecipes.com
(Print this Recipe!)
What you'll need . . .
- 2 8-ounce tilapia fillets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- Pepper, to taste
Method . . .
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Get out a rimmed baking sheet and line it with some foil.
- Massage 1 tablespoon of olive oil into each fillet -- cover both sides.
- Mix together the spices -- including the orange zest -- and then rub it onto both sides of each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet and then grind a bit of fresh pepper on top.
- Bake in preheated oven until the tilapia is no longer translucent and flakes easily with a fork, about 15 minutes.
- Then turn on your broiler and continue cooking for another 2 minutes or so.
- Serve over a bed of cooked kale. With black rice and a sweet potato on the side. And you MUST try the sauce! That was my favorite part!
SWEET AVOCADO-BASIL SPREAD
What you'll need . . .
- 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 orange, juiced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 1 inch of ginger root, minced
- 1/2 large avocado
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Ground pepper, to taste
Method . . .
- In a food processor, blend together the basil leaves, fresh orange juice, honey, garlic, avocado, tamari, and sesame oil.
- Then squeeze the juice of the ginger into the mix and stir in the sesame seeds. Add pepper, if desired.
- Spread liberally on the fish when you're ready to eat!
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