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Archive | November 18th, 2009

A Granola for the Season

A Granola for the Season

CowgirlGranolaAre you mad for granola?  Then you may want to check out the pumpkin spice blend granola that Cowgirl Granola has produced for this Thanksgiving.

The San Antonio company is offering a granola made with seasonal spices as well as dried orange-cranberries, perfect flavors for those who can’t enough during the holiday.

The special granola is only available through the end of the month. It sells for $8 for a 12-ounce package.

You can purchase it or the two regular flavors (Original with organic raisins and Cranberry with dried cranberries) by calling (210) 865-5900, online at www.cowgirlgranola.com or at the Leon Springs Farmers Market, 13222 Boerne Stage Road every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

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Sautéed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

Sautéed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

TalapiaWithAlmondsThis is a method of cooking fish fillets that I learned when I was cooking in restaurants. My favorite fish to cook this way is petrale sole, which you can sometimes find here in fish markets or Central Market. While Dover sole is a small-ish fillet, very tender and fragile, petrale is a bigger, meatier flatfish, like flounder. Some of the fillets would easily fill a 12-inch steel sauté pan. Tilapia also works well. It is a firm-fleshed, mild-flavored white fish. In this dish, its fresh flavor is not overwhelmed by the mild coating of flour and egg, lemon and butter.

Sautéed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

6 tablespoons butter, divided use
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
3/4 cup flour, seasoned well with salt and white pepper, to taste
2 eggs, scrambled in a wide, shallow bowl
1 lemon, cut in half and seeded
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley, for garnish
1 lemon, cut in wedges, for garnish

Over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large non-stick skillet or sauté pan.  Meanwhile, dredge each of the fillets in the seasoned flour, turning so the surface of each fillet is completely coated. Put each flour-covered fillet on a clean, dry plate.

When the butter is starting to sizzle and smell fragrant, but not browned, dip each of the fillets into the egg, making sure it is well coated. Then, put the fillets in the pan and saute, turning, until each side is golden and the fish is firm. You might need to do these fillets 2 at a time. Keep the fish warm in a low oven or on a heated, covered plate.

When all fillets are cooked, wipe out the sauté pan with a paper towel. Put it back on the heat and put in the almonds. Stir and toss them over the heat until they are lightly toasted. Add the remaining butter and let the almonds and butter sizzle together until the butter just starts to brown and the almonds are coloring.  Squeeze the juice of half of 1 lemon into the pan and swirl. Put each of the warm fillets on a plate and divide butter and almonds between the four plates, spooning the almonds and sauce over the top of the fish. Use the other half of lemon to squeeze more lemon on top of the almonds. Sprinkle a little minced parsley on top. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

From Bonnie Walker

Recipe part of:  WalkerSpeak: Casual or Fancy, Keep Tilapia Around

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Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

FishTacos2Fish tacos have earned a great reputation during the past decade or more in San Antonio. We like variety, though, so we’ve seen variations – with chipotle dressing or green chile dressing, with or without avocado and single- or double-wrapped in steamy, warm corn tortillas.

Double wrapped is traditional. The filling, which contains shredded cabbage, fried (or grilled, if you prefer) fish, dressing, cheese and more, can overwhelm just the single tortilla.

To fry up fish with a crunchy but not heavy coating, I always use corn flour, which is the main ingredient in Zatarain’s fish fry coating. You can get it seasoned or season it yourself with salt and pepper. Also,  if you like this option, sliced radishes add flavor, crunch and color.

Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Creamy Chipotle Sauce:
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 small chipotle peppers, soaked in hot water, seeded and cut into small dice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely minced onion
Garlic salt, to taste
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Garnishes:
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 medium tomato, sliced
1/2 cup shredded Longhorn cheese
1/4 cup sliced red radishes
1 small avocado, pitted and sliced
1 small lemon, cut in 4 wedges

Fish for filling:
Canola oil for frying
2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets, thawed if frozen
3/4 cup corn flour (Zatarain’s plain fish fry coating)
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste

8 corn tortillas

For Chipotle Sauce: Whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, chipotle peppers, lemon juice, garlich salt and white pepper in a small bowl, covered, in the refrigerator while you prepare tacos.

For Garnishes: Put all of the garnishes into bowls and have ready for dressing the tacos.

For Fish: Heat canola oil to about a depth of 1 inch in a large, nonstick skillet. While heating the oil, put corn flour on a plate and mix in the salt and pepper, to taste. Dredge each piece of fish in corn flour, patting gently so that the corn flour coats the surface well. When oil is hot enough to sizzle when a drop of water is flicked in, gently lay the fillets in the oil. Keep the temperature even and fry fish, turning once with tongs, until it is firm and golden on each side. Place the fish on a clean plate or on a draining rack.

To assemble:  Heat the tortillas in the microwave, a nonstick skillet or comal on top of the stove. When they are warm and tender (not getting crisp), put four tortillas on two plates, in pairs, one atop the other. On each pair of tortillas place half of a fillet of fried fish, then garnish with the cabbage, tomato, cheese, radishes and a slice or 2 of avocado. Dress each with some of the Chipotle Cream Sauce, and serve the rest of the sauce on the side, along with the wedges of fresh lemon.

Makes 2 servings of 2 tacos each.

From Bonnie Walker

Recipe part of:  WalkerSpeak: Casual or Fancy, Keep Tilapia Around

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WalkerSpeak: Casual or Fancy, Keep Tilapia Around for Great Tastes

WalkerSpeak: Casual or Fancy, Keep Tilapia Around for Great Tastes

FishTacos2

Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Looking to pick up a deliciously healthy habit as the holiday season gets underway?

Stop at the freezer section of the store and pick up a bag of flash-frozen tilapia fillets. I always keep a couple of pounds of these in my freezer for those what-should-I make-for-dinner evenings.

While the name “tilapia”  just doesn’t really summon up the excitement of,  say, fresh Alaskan halibut or wild-caught salmon, it is good.  The mild flavor and firm, flaky texture make it adaptable for many preparations.

I don’t like catfish, so I use tilapia instead. Tilapia in gumbo? Sure. Tilapia smothered in a good Creole sauce? Excellent.

The two preparations I’m sharing here today are two of my favorites. Fish Tacos, for casual or company fare; Sautéed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds to fancy things up.

Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Some time back, when I first heard about fish tacos, I thought they sounded  a little odd. Then, they started to turn up on San Antonio menus. We especially fell in love with the Sea Island version, where they know how to fry fish to perfection.

After just one taste, I was hooked on that the combination of sweet, crunchy white fish, wrapped in two warm corn tortillas and dressed with the chile pepper-spiked tartar sauce. While you can grill fish or prepare it any other way for a fish taco, I particularly like the contrast in textures you get with  crisp fried fish, crunchy slivers of cabbage and radishes and the lively flavors of a chile tartar sauce or salsa.

In this recipe for Fish Tacos, I added sliced avocado. (Why not?) The tartar sauce is actually just a simple blend of sour cream and mayonnaise, soaked and seeded chipotle chiles and a little minced onion and garlic salt. Char-roasted jalapeños or serranos served on the side are just about the perfect garnish.

Serve fish tacos with tender charro beans, seasoned sweet potato fries, your favorite coleslaw or a vegetable, such as green beans tossed in lemon butter with toasted almonds.

Sauteed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

TalapiaWithAlmonds

Sauteed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

This dish can be for everyday or you can pretend it’s gourmet. If you consider the browned butter and toasted almonds, the succulent fish and the sparkling flavor of fresh lemon,  it all just adds up to good food. And, it takes little time to prepare.

I sometimes just want the simple flavors of fish, lemon and butter. But if you need another flavor in the dish to add interest, go for some minced fresh herbs, such as dill or thyme, and fresh parsley. The fresh lemon is a must, though.

One more tip: If you keep almonds or other nuts in the freezer, they keep very well this way. But, they can also get stale if they’ve been in there awhile, or if the container wasn’t properly sealed. Taste them to be sure they’ll highlight the dish as they should, not add an off flavor.

Recipes:

Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Sautéed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

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