Food, Wine, Rock & Roll

Part food blog, part jam session

Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia

Posted by Becca On September - 9 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Much to my husband’s disappointment, I generally don’t like fish.  As a result, I almost never cook it.  Over the years, however, I have challenged myself to find types of fish I can eat and enjoy; tilapia has become one of the few I truly like.  It is a very mild white fish that can be quite versatile in the kitchen.  This recipe is wonderful for its simplicity and freshness.  The chili powder coating under the cornmeal crust and the tomatillo salsa add an amazing kick of heat that make this fish flavorful and delicious.  Pair it with a side of black beans, poblano corn, or even some plain couscous and you have a tasty meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 egg whaite
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preparation

Combine flour & cornmeal in a shallow dish.  Combine 1 tablespoon of water and egg white in a shallow dish, stirring well.

Sprinkle both sides of the fish evenly with salt & chili powder.

Heat the oil in a large n0n-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Be careful that it does not get too hot in order to avoid scorching the outside of the fish.

Dip the fish in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.

Add fish to the heated pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve with tomatillo salsa (recipe listed separately)

Drinks

The combination of the mildness of the fish makes this dish difficult to pair with beer but the heat and acidity of the tomatillo salsa makes it a little difficult to pair with a wine.  However, through much testing, I finally found a wine that is a perfect match: Gaetano D’Aquino winery’s Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie.  It has the perfect balance of fruity sweetness, which complements the fish beautifully, and a hint of acidity that blends very well with the tomatillo salsa.

Music

Since fish is a little out of the ordinary for most of my dining preferences, I like to listen to something completely different & incredibly fun while making this dish.  Putamayo’s Brasileiro features a diverse range of music from Brazilian artists, which makes it a great album to turn on while making this meal.  My favorite track on the album, “Mama Africa,” makes it impossible to NOT dance around the kitchen.

Shrimp Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema

Posted by Becca On August - 6 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This is another recipe that I decided to adapt the original into something more along my style and taste.  It originally called for red snapper fillets but, as I am not a huge fan of fish, I decided to change it to shrimp and it worked beautifully.  It also originally called for corn tortillas but I use flour tortillas warmed on the grill.  This is a pretty simple dish to cook but is so full of flavor that it seems much more complicated.  If there is any crema leftover, it can be saved for up to a week and can be used with other Mexican dishes (I really like to put it on nachos for a quick lunch).

Ingredients

Creama:

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Tacos:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound peeled & de-veined shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Flour (or corn, depending on preference) tortillas
  • Butter or margarine
  • Shredded cabbage or lettuce

Preparation

Crema:

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl.  Allow to sit in refrigerator 10-15 minutes.

Grilled Tortillas:

Preheat grill to medium heat (350-400 degrees).

Very lightly spread butter (you can also use spray butter) one side of each tortilla.  Tightly wrap stacked tortillas in aluminum foil.

Place tortillas on grill and cook each side for 5-7 minutes.

Tacos:

Combine cumin through garlic powder in a bowl with shrimp.  Toss spice and shrimp mixture to evenly coat shrimp.

In a large skillet, allow olive oil to warm over medium heat.  Place spiced shrimp in skillet and cook until shrimp are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

Divide the shrimp evenly among tortillas, and top each with cabbage/lettuce and crema.

Drinks

While this dish does go well with any lighter Mexican beer such as Dos Equis, Sol, or Corona, I have found that the delicacy of the shrimp and the smoothness of the crema lends itself more to a slightly sweeter white wine.  I particularly like Clayhouse Vinyard’s Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s light, fruity taste is a nice complement to the spice in the shrimp.

Music

I am currently in love with Jack Johnson.  He is an amazing singer-songwriter whose smooth voice and acoustic guitar combine beautifully with the cooking of this dish.  My favorite album to groove to while making this is Brushfire Fairytales.