Friday, March 4, 2011

Panko Crusted Tilapia with New Orleans Red Rice and Asparagus

Delicious fish for dinner - one of my favs. I start by making the rice as it takes the most amount of time.

Start by melting a couple of tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add one stalk of diced celery, half a small onion diced and 2 large cloves of garlic minced.  Cook in the butter for a few minutes until softened but not brown.

Then add 1 cup of long grain white rice and the veggies - 2 small diced tomatoes (you can substitute canned diced tomato) and 2 green onions sliced and 2 Tbsp of minced fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dry). Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.

Then add 2 cups of chicken stock, 1 tsp of salt, pepper to taste and 2 bay leaves.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Then turn down to simmer and put a lid on it.  Keep the proportion of broth to rice consistent and you can't go wrong.  In about 20 minutes, the rice will be tender and ready to serve.  I stir it a couple of times during those 20 minutes in case the liquid evaporates too quickly and it starts to stick.  Then I'd add a bit more liquid and turn the temp down more.  In the meantime, I start boiling water for the asparagus.  You can start the cheese sauce for the asparagus now.  In the microwave, melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a measuring cup. 

Then add a Tbsp of flour.  Stir to combine.

Then add about half a cup of warm milk and stir til it's combined well.  Zap it in the microwave again til it's thickened (check every 30 seconds or so).  Once it's a thickened sauce - add about half a cup of cheese and stir til it melts. Warm quickly in the microwave again right before serving.

Now remember to keep your eye on the rice.  Once it is ready, you can turn the heat off, leave the lid on it and it will stay warm while you cook the fish.  Prepare the breading for the fish.  In a bowl, add one beaten egg and 2 Tbsp of water.  You will dip the fish in this before breading in Panko crumbs.

Now is the time to put the asparagus in the boiling water to cook while you are frying the fish.  In a fry pan, add a light tasting cooking oil (like sunflower) and heat it up.  Add the fish and fry on both sides til browned and flaky.  Plate up and enjoy!

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