Saturday, March 7, 2009

CSA week 14 - Tilapia and spring onion confit

I'm not sure "confit" is quite the right word here. Some definitions just say "poached in fat" while others require "poached in its own fat". Obviously, I did the former here as there's not a lot of fat in a tilapia. I didn't want to be imprecise but "Olive oil and butter poached tilapia and spring onion" is kind of long for a title.

Semantics aside, this is based on a recipe for oil poached fish that was in the New York Times a few days ago. I was a bit tired of the kitchen after baking bread and making ice cream today so I was looking around for something not too difficult to make tonight that used at least one of the CSA vegetables along with whatever else I had to hand. And it had to go well with the bread which ruled out some otherwise promising choices. I was about to make a version of a chicken and leeks recipe that really works best with chicken breasts I don't have when I remembered this recipe and how nice scallions and onions are when they get soft and start falling apart after being cooking in butter on low heat. No reason spring onions wouldn't work too.

So I defrosted a tilapia filet and cut it into inch-wide squares which I sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. I also cut one of the spring onions stem to stern, just trimming the ends a little, into half inch pieces.

In a medium pan I heated a Tablespoon of olive oil and a Tablespoon of butter over low heat just until the butter was all melted. Then I added the fish and a spring of rosemary and let cook for five minutes turning down the heat when it started to sizzle. Five minutes was a bit long but my fish wasn't quite entirely defrosted.

When the fish was about halfway to turning opaque I added the spring onion, a minced clove of garlic and a bit more salt and pepper, stirred to coat everything in fat, put on a lid and cooked for another three minutes.

Then I finished it off with a little chopped parsley, a half teaspoon of capers and a squeeze of lemon, removed the rosemary and served.

The onion is still slightly chewy with the thicker pieces retaining just a little crispness while the tilapia is firm but creamily moist. The tilapia's flavor seeped out as it cooked so this is more of an onion dish with an understated fish sauce than fish with an onion sauce. The spring onion tops are just the green bits of the scallion overgrown so you have to like that, but if you do it's a nice match with the other flavors here. The fresh notes of the parsley and capers pair well with the onion, the lemon cuts the fattiness and it all tastes lovely with a few slices of fresh baked multigrain bread. Quick, easy and highlights its ingredients so worth a quick post I figure.

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