Monday, May 30, 2011

Tilapia Dish #2: Macaroon Crusted Tilapia

Hey guys! It has been a crazy past couple of days. I graduated high school last Friday and had THE FUNNEST time at project graduation! (in case you don't know what that is, it is an all night party hosted by the school for all the seniors)
Me in my cap and gown.
 There was food galore (hello free Amy's ice cream and veggie burgers!), a bunch of fun prizes, a casino, photo booths, and a hypnotist, which had to be the CRAZIEST part. He hypnotized 10 of my classmates on stage and made (or should I say influenced?) them do the funniest things. If you stayed the whole night, you get a bunch of cash rewards, prizes, and a goodie bag...woo-hoo! I ended up getting home at 6 am , so I was dead tired, but it was still the best way to end my senior year!

I wanted to share with you all another favorite Tilapia recipe I have. (Tilapia dish #1 - here)

I usually don't remake dishes often. I see so many fun and excited dinner ideas that the ones I've already made will usually sit in my recipe book and remain untouched.

This dish, however, I have made three times. This is big! I never get tired of it, and neither does the rest of my family. This dish is most definitely a winner that takes seconds to prepare!

What is the dish? It's "macroon" crusted Tilapia. Tilapia filets are dredged in a mixture of coconut and almond and then seasoned with a kick of spice that takes it out of this world.

Macaroon Crusted Tilapia
Adapted from How Sweet It Is

4 Tilapia filets
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 egg white
Salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning (or other fish seasoning or cayenne pepper)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a food processor, process almonds and coconut until finely ground (make sure it doesn't start to "butterize", it helps if the almonds are straight from the freezer).

Lightly beat the egg white and place in a dish. Place the coconut/almond mixture in another dish.

Once by one, dip the Tilapia filet into the egg white and then into the breading. Place on a greased baking sheet.

Liberally season fish with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Pat down the seasonings and place the fish into the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the crust is nicely toasted.

Serve with a wedge of lemon and a sweet sauce for dipping!
The almonds and the coconut get super toasty and flavorful; and since they're all unsweetened, they're just asking for a sweet and spicy sauce on the side.

We just happened to have a mango green apple habenero sauce in the fridge that worked perfectly for these, but if you don't have something like that laying around, a sauce made from orange marmalade or apricot jam would work perfectly! Basically, any sauce that would work with coconut shrimp will be fabulous with this.

In case you need a recipe, here is a super simple one to try out:
Homemade Sweet and Spicy Sauce-
1/2 cup orange marmalade or apricot jam
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

Mix it all up and add salt and pepper if it needs it! I usually just eyeball the measurements for this sauce and it works out just fine.

The combination of the sweet sauce with the spicy and toasty fish is perfect! I would recommend not using sweetened coconut, since it's more moist and will tend to clump and not stick to the fish.

Here are pictures from all three times I've made this! (And a hit every time)
First time
The first time I made it, I went by the original recipe's directions and the result was an under seasoned fish. My new way of seasoning it (after breading) ensures flavor in each bite!
Second time-
This time I used frozen filets. They worked just as well and required no pre-planning at the grocery store. They thaw very quickly on the counter, or more safely in a water bath (just place the Tilapia filet still in it's package in room temperature water).
Flaky and devine...
The third time-
Obviously, I'm not too creative on what to pair with it (bread, steamed green vegetables and habenero mango sauce) but hey, if it works so well there's no point changin' it!

I used frozen fish again here, but this one was a little less higher quality (it was from Walmart...) so the fish started ripping when I was breading it and smelled a Still turned out fabulous thanks to this amazing combination of sweet and spicy with the coconut and almonds!

The best part is, it takes 5 minutes to put together and then another 20 minutes in the oven. In that 20 minutes, I can clean up, set the table, and steam the vegetables. No clean up afterwards and dinner is ready in a jiff!

Also, this meal doesn't taste like it took less than 30 minutes to put together; this is definitely a dish you can serve on a special occasion or to guests.

Vegetarian? I haven't tried this, but I wouldn't be surprised if this recipe worked fabulously with tofu as well.  
Fish too expensive? Chicken would be a great alternative!

Healthy, fast, and versatile? Yes please!

<3 Carlyn

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