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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Toight's dinner

We had fish. Now, I like my fish relatively plain. Sauces are nice and I like making them, but a lot of restaurants think that the purpose of sauces for fish is to hide the fact that it's fish. And I like fish and don't want to hide it.

jonbaker likes my fish just fine, but he also likes things a bit...dressier. And I have been learning this stuff.

So, tonight I made tilapia in a sort of veracruz (Mexican style) sauce.

I confess, I cheated - instead of peeling, seeding and chopping fresh tomatoes (which are pretty bad this time of year) and seeding and fine dicing jalape&ntilda;o peppers, I bought a can of diced tomatoes with mild green chiles. I minced half a white onion and two cloves of garlic and sautéed them in a little corn oil until soft, with some red pepper flakes. I drained the tomatoes and deglazed the pan with the juices, and then added the tomatoes. After it cooked a little, I added about a teaspoon of white wine vinegar.

To cook the fish, I added water and brought the mixture to a boil, then added the tilapia, covered the pan and turned it down to a simmer. 10-15 min later, it was cooked and I put the covered pan in the oven to stay warm.

I served it over brown rice with french cut green beans on the side. And it was bright and spicy and sharp, but I could still taste the fish. Perfect and so, so pretty.

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Ooh, this sounds good. I will have to make this for Tigerbright, who likes tilapia a lot, and with another fish for myself.

It doesn't need to be tilapia, but it *does* need to be a firm white fish of some sort.

Tell me how it comes out.

That sounds gorgeous.

I'm a big fan of canned tomatoes, especially now that it's easy to find them without added salt. I've got to the point where I simply won't buy a supermarket "ripe" tomato, except very occasional cartons of the little cherry or grape varieties, because they don't taste like tomatoes, dammit.

I agree about the tomatoes - fresh tomatoes this time of year especially are terrible. (I also prefer frozen peas and corn to fresh.)

We've been using fresh tomatoes in class because there are skills we need to know, but we've been using canned to supplement the taste.

(This makes a really NICE fast weekday dinner, btw.)

I make a variation on a veracruzana which is fairly similar, only I do it in the oven. I put the tilapia filets on a large piece of tinfoil, and top them with a sauce made from onions and garlic and a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and one or two of the jalapeños we put up over the summer, finely chopped; then close up the tinfoil and bake.

Variation on the theme: top the tilapia with baby asparagus and kalamata olives, and dress with lemon juice and a splash of balsamic vinegar and a splash of olive oil. Or: use salmon, top with asparagus and dress in a mixture of fresh ginger, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. That one actually works better poached on the stovetop than in the oven, but it can be done either way... :-)

There are some efforts that pay off best at scale, and I suspect Concassing tomatoes is one of them. No need to call cheating the fact that you recognize the difference between home cookery and a kitchen brigade.

I might have to try that treatment for tilapia sometime. Usually I bake it with butter and a few spices - Morgan has lately been wanting it fried. But steamed, I think I could get her to eat by pointing out that she is always driving us toward eating healthier.

::scribbles down details::

Oh, wow, I've been wondering what to do with the tilapia in my freezer. This sounds perfect! (My entire fish-cooking repretoire consists of poached salmon.) Thanks for sharing!