Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pan-Fried Tilapia Remix

Pan-fried tilapia is simply delicious, and if you need further justification of that statement, you can read about it in more detail in a one of my previous posts, singing its praises.  I usually don’t blog about the same dish twice, unless I find a way to improve it.  My recipe for tilapia recently received an upgrade, not by varying ingredients, but by varying the cooking vessel.  I recently purchased my very first cast iron pan, and my only regret is that I waited so long to do so.  This is not only an upgrade for tilapia, but also an improvement for my kitchen in general.  This is particularly good news for anything sautéed/pan-fried, as those foods always tastes best when they achieve a golden, brown hue.  Deeper color results in deeper flavor, and a crispier texture.  Cast iron pans help to maximize this “golden (brown) rule,” and my most recent batch of pan-fried tilapia exemplified this.  My new favorite pan yielded crispy, golden fish fillets that were perfectly moist on the inside.  Cast iron gets hotter than non-stick pans, which allowed for the beautiful color to develop quickly, without overcooking the fish.
I also made a dill-mustard cole slaw to go alongside my fish.  Cole slaw is a common side dish for fried fish for a reason: it is a perfect complement.  It’s like serving your fish with a refreshing, crunchy tartar sauce.  Creamy, crunchy, tart, and briny: pan-fried tilapia couldn’t ask for anything more.  The dressing was both creamy and vinegary, with a nice bite from spicy mustard, and bright from the addition of fresh dill.  Following the general trend of cole slaw, this one gets better as it sits, so I recommend making it at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving.  It will continue to get better over the next day or so, as well.

Pan-Fried Tilapia: click here

Mustard-Dill Cole Slaw (loosely based on the Food Network’s recipe)

                1/2 cup mayonnaise (I prefer olive-oil based)
                2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
                1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard, spicy brown mustard, or German mustard
                3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (plus extra for garnish)
                Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
                1/2 head light-green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
                1 small carrot, shredded
                1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

-       Wisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, with about 20 grinds of fresh pepper and about ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt.
-       In a large bowl add the cabbage, carrot, and scallions.  Add about ¾ of the dressing and the dill.  Add more dressing if needed.  Garnish with dill when serving. 

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