tilapia tacos

August 14, 2010 § 6 Comments

I have sat on this recipe for months now because I’m nervous about it, but it was really tasty and it’s time for me to man up and share it with the world. After all, it’s only food. And what kind of ridiculous person gets anxious about food? Oh right, me.

I put myself out of my comfort zone by assembling a proper dinner without a recipe, and it actually was really good! Yay! The problem being, however, that I was so enthusiastic about throwing it together that I’m now a little fuzzy on the quantities. Also, it is probably highly inauthentic and I’m slightly embarrassed to call it tacos, but it involves tortillas and I couldn’t think of a better name, so there you have it.

It was a great dinner though: tilapia tacos, with a spread of mango salsa and guacamole. I love meals where you can assemble your own plate, probably a relic of my early years where I was a ridiculously picky eater and didn’t want any condiments on anything, thank you very much. But now I’ve seen the error of my ways and like to aim for the perfect combination of toppings. Here’s my attempt to reconstruct the recipes, but this worked out so well for me, I have faith that it will be foolproof for you too.

Tilapia Tacos:

    4 tilapia fillets (1 pound)
    2 tbsp olive oil
    Lime juice
    Salt to taste
    4 tortillas

Other delicious things you may want:

    Mango salsa (recipe below)
    Guacamole (recipe below)
    Chopped tomatoes
    Sour cream
    Shredded cabbage

Sprinkle fillets with cumin, lime juice, and salt. Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat (if the fish won’t fit, do this in batches). Saut√© fillets on each side until golden, and fish is cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Slice fish, and serve with tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and other toppings.

Mango Salsa:

    1 firm-ripe mango, chopped into dice
    2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
    2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
    1/2 jalapeno, seeds discarded and finely chopped (I’m a wuss, you may want more than this)
    Juice of half a lime
    Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste.


    1 avocado
    1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
    2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon jalapeno, seeds discarded, minced
    Line juice to taste
    Salt to taste

Mash avocado in a bowl with a fork. Stir in other ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste. Don’t be shy with the salt!


speedy seared sea scallops

January 10, 2010 § 9 Comments

The gap in my posting over the holidays is mostly due to the amazing food I’m served when I go visit my family. Technically I could still cook, but I’m in someone else’s kitchen and don’t quite have the gall to start messing with their implements, especially since both houses I visit are inhabited by men who are extraordinarily skilled in the kitchen. Instead I happily plop down at the table, waiting to be fed better meals than I ever make myself (I am prone to eating cookies for dinner).

But this year, my father suggested we cook a meal together. I was mildly apprehensive, since both of us are pretty bossy in the kitchen, but he insisted that he would like to be my sous-chef. And it actually was a lot of fun! Although my sous-chef was somewhat snarky, as I had predicted. Anyhow, here is an actual dinner recipe: seared sea scallops with tarragon butter sauce.

This recipe is both incredibly quick and incredibly good. You can briefly feel virtuous for eating seafood, and then pour excesses of butter over the whole thing. Seriously, this meal was one of the favourite things I’ve eaten in a while. It’s important not to overcook the scallops, but other than that it’s hard to screw up. For instance, I overheated my butter sauce so it was more melty than it was supposed to be, but it didn’t make the slightest difference, except for that the butter spread onto the other parts of my meal (clearly a good thing). We served this with steamed green beans, and a very tasty risotto that for some reason took an hour and a half to make, so I’ll hold off on posting risotto recipes until I figure out what went wrong. In the meantime, eat some scallops!

Seared Sea Scallops with Tarragon Butter Sauce – adapted from Epicurious

Serves 2.

  • 12 ounces large sea scallops, tough ligament from side of each discarded
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon (I think I actually used more)
  • Salt and pepper

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sear scallops, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Add shallot, wine, and vinegar to skillet and boil, scraping up brown bits, until reduced to approximately a tablespoon. Add juices from platter and if necessary boil until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Reduce heat to low and add 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until almost melted, then take pan off heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, swirling until incorporated and sauce has a creamy consistency. Stir in tarragon and salt to taste; pour sauce over scallops.

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