My wife has asked that I make more seafood. I like seafood well enough, but when cooking I do lean much more heavily on the legged proteins. Given the choice between spare ribs and salmon, I’ll take spare ribs nine times out of ten. Given the choice between rib-eye and scallops, I’ll take the rib-eye seven times out of ten.
But, in the interest of marital harmony, I’m trying some new fish recipes this week.
The first attempt was Sunday night. I found a recipe for Dijon Crusted Halibut on allrecipes.com. It looked good and it used horseradish, which was a plus. I love horseradish, but I don’t use it that often. So one jar will sit in my refrigerator for a long time. Anything that uses more horseradish is a good thing.
That recipe worked pretty well. The flavor was good, but it wasn’t pretty (sorry, no pictures. I’m willing to fess up to my mistakes, but this one wasn’t even worth getting the phone out). It was hard to get an even crust over the halibut fillets so there were burnt tips and under cooked thick spots.
Also, as I was applying the Dijon mixture I realized that whoever filleted the halibut at the store did a poor job. There were pin bones and other bones through out the fish. In the time it took for me to remove the bones, the panko bread crumbs absorbed the liquid from the Dijon mixture and became soggy.
My bad. I should have checked the fish before I started the batter. Still, this mis-fire made me think there had to be a better way.
Nikki Dinki to the rescue
My two favorites were Stacey Poon-Kinney and Nikki Dinki. I really thought Stacey would take it all, so I was mildly shocked when she was eliminated. I liked Nikki on camera and her personality, but she lacked the depth of some of the other competitors, so she was never my favorite to win.
Anyway, I had been browsing Nikki’s site a few days earlier and came across her recipe for Red Pepper Pesto Crusted Halibut. Her technique for breading the fish seemed like the answer to my problems, so I adapted it to my recipe. I didn’t paint the fish with the sauce, then sprinkle with the panko. That seemed too fussy for a Monday night. Instead I dredged the fish in the liquid, then rolled it in the panko.
I used tilapia instead of halibut because halibut is fairly expensive. Sunday’s dinner used a $25 piece of fish for four people. That’s too much jack to be experimenting with.
I was very please with the results. It was quick, easy and very tasty. The Dijon and horseradish added a pleasing kick to what can be a fairly bland fish and the panko toasted up golden and crispy.
The one thing I learned? If I ever get serious about this blog, I’m going to need some more photogenic baking sheets.
Horseradish and Dijon Crusted Tilapia – Serves 4
3 Tilapia fillets
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS prepared horseradish
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 TBS paprika
4 TBS butter
- Move oven rack to top position and pre-heat oven to 400° F.
- Cut tilapia fillets into four evenly sized pieces.
- Season fillet pieces with salt and pepper.
- Combine mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish and lemon juice.
- In a separate bowl, mix panko and paprika.
- In a small pan, melt butter over low heat.
- Dredge tilapia pieces in mustard mixture, then roll in panko. Arrange on a greased baking sheet.
- Drizzle melted butter over the crusted tilapia. Make sure to thoroughly coat fillets to ensure even browning.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.