Monday, January 11, 2010

Cashew Tilapia and Tabbouleh

Ok, so, here I am, the first day after my new year's resolution to write on this blog at least once a week. And I'm doing it! I'm sure by June it will be midnight on Sunday and I'll be typing up last week's entry, but that's how resolutions go, right? It feels good to be accomplishing something now, anyway. =)

SO, tonight we had Cashew Encrusted Tilapia and Tabbouleh for dinner. Uh*mazing.
Not only was it beautiful, it was delicious! Lots of flavor from herbs, lemons, nuts...lots of crunch and variety of textures. I just loved this whole dish, which is why I'm posting them together!

The fish could also be adapted for a number of dietary needs - you could easily make it gluten free by using only nuts to dip the fish in (and skipping out on the bread crumbs and flour). You could also use just Panko Bread Crumbs instead of nuts if you wanted the crunch but no nuts. I suppose you could also slice chicken thinly and use that for you non-fish-lovers out there (and you know who you are).

In either case, it was absolutely fantastic, flavorful, and healthy; three things that are a must in my house!
This Tabbouleh is something that we eat regularly at our house. It packs a lot of flavor without fat and tastes fresh and delicious. The recipe I use isn't strictly a Tabbouleh as it calls for more wheat than the traditional, but I like it this way, so that's how I make it! I also throw in pine nuts and feta usually, but they are most definitely optional.Just look at that chopping board - tomatoes, mint, parsley, green onions, cucumbers...mmmmm. Even my toddler eats it! Oh, and don't be afraid of Bulghur (cracked) wheat! You can pick it up at almost any grocery store in the cereal, baking, or bulk grains area and it's even easier to make than rice!
It's a very forgiving recipe that you can play with by adding more lemon juice or herbs until you get the flavor you like. I find it can be chilled for up to 3 days and still be delicious, so all the chopping's worth it if you have some downtime and make it early!

Ok, now, let's talk fish. Tilapia is really quite mild and delicious if you are a fence-sitter in the seafood department, but you really could use chicken for this dish as well.
I started out using a meat pounder to crush the cashews, but I was failing miserably at it, so I busted out the Magic Bullet and that did the trick. Any blender/food processor would work. I used salted cashews because that's all I had on hand - so sue me. =) I also used Panko Bread Crumbs because Costco sells them for cheap and I think they make your dish much more gourmet-ish. Really, they do. You can buy them next to the normal bread crumbs at any grocery store.
Look at the little line-up of coatings for my fish before they were popped in the oven - isn't it pretty, like playing leap-frog into the pan. =)So, then I popped them in the oven...then comes the universal question: WHEN IS THE FISH DONE??
I used to wonder the same thing - in fact, I used to cook fish until it was straight rubber because I was so nervous I was under-cooking it. Well, fish is a little different than normal meat, it's going to look a little plump, juicy, and even un-cooked when it is cooked. If you stick a fork in it and just separate the layers so you can see the thickest part, if it looks a little flaky on the outside and has gone opaque in the center, your fish is completely cooked through, and you can pull it out. Even if it's just a little early, it'll still steam for a few minutes once you take it out. Mine were perfection at 20 minutes.
Mmmm...just look at that crunchy, salty goodness. You know you want some!
Lastly, I whipped up a little sauce for these puppies with whatever I had in the kitchen - some brown mustard, honey, and a little barbecue sauce. It was delicious, although I think a mango salsa on top in the summer would be out of this WORLD.

I think I should probably rate these recipes, for ease in reference later on. I think I'll use the good old fashioned star rating, and I'll explain that in another post in just a moment. Here's how I'd rate them:
Tabbouleh: 4.5 stars
Cashew Tilapia: 4 stars

Ok, that's all folks! Let me know if you have any questions or if anyone tries it what you think of it!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, we are going to try this one this next week. I am skitterish about cooking fish thoroughly, but I will take your word for it. I'll let you know how it goes!