Tonight, I was in a rut. I had Tilapia on hand, but was bored of this bland fish, and any uninteresting ways to cook it either. Fried? Whatever. Baked? Not the right fish for that. But then the light bulb turned on. Like I said before, Tilapia is a bland fish, which is why it's also very cheap. So it's the perfect canvas for illuminating amazing flavors.
Using plain bread crumbs, I added my own seasoning. Even the seasoned bread crumbs you buy at the grocery store aren't really flavorful. The mix I included was salt, pepper, paprika and turmeric. But the secret ingredient? Minced garlic. Combining it with the bread crumbs, the little morsels of garlic get completely covered, thus preventing it from burning in the oil. Instead they get caramelized and delicious. But what's super special here is that, the happiness that is created between the turmeric and garlic is absolutely mind blowing. The aroma before it even ever hits the oil is intoxicating. The earthy and slightly bitter flavor of turmeric is very similar to the mustard seed and just marries incredibly well with the garlic.
Not to mention the gorgeous deep ochre yellow hue that just makes me even more blissful to eat this dish.
But let's not forget about the paprika. It deserves attention too. It's smokiness rounds out the bitterness of the curry. (sigh) Have I ever told you how much I am in love with food.... Anyways back to the recipe.
Frying the tilapia in a shallow oil over medium heat for no longer than four minutes per side, ensures the fish is flaky and very moist.
Now to go along with my fish, I needed to kick up the basic everyday potato up a notch too. So I opted for sweet potato and butternut squash. Both contributing a sweet note, yet each on a different level. The sweet potato, earthier and honey like, the butternut squash nuttier and silkier, they play well together.
Not wanting to fuss with these clean and simple flavors, I just seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled on a little olive oil and tossed in a handful of freshly chopped rosemary which really adds a different element of flavor to the double sweetness going on here.
The fish and the vegetables accompany each other flawlessly, and though not done on purpose, they kind of come out the same color! Enjoy.
Garlic & Turmeric Breaded Tilapia
8 Tilapia fillets
2 cups vegetable oil
9 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups plain bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs well. In another shallow bowl combine the bread crumbs with the salt, pepper, paprika and turmeric. Add the garlic and blend well with the fork until it is fully distributed and coated with the bread crumbs. The mixture will be a little damp from the garlic. Pat the tilapia dry with paper towels. Place the fish into the egg and coat well. Transfer each fillet into the bread crumbs and coat completely. Pat the crumbs to really stick to the fish. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Fry three fillets at a time for 3-4 minutes on each side until lightly golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve hot.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Butternut Squash Hash with Rosemary
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cubed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped rosemary
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the sweet potato and butternut squash on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss to combine and coat. Place in a pre-heated oven. Toss with a spoon and rotate pan every ten minutes. Cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly brown and slightly crisp around the edges.