Every year I host the family’s get-together for my mom’s birthday. Although she usually leaves the menu up to me, this year she requested fish. Cooking for ten, I wanted to keep it simple. Also, with that Coconut Almond Cake waiting for birthday candles, I wanted a meal light enough to leave room for cake. Along with a Blueberry Blue Cheese Salad, it was a tasty meal that didn’t leave us overstuffed.
There are three different recipes here, each capable of standing alone, but they go together so well I’m putting them in one entry.
First, the creamy white wine and lemon sauce for the fish. I got it started, alongside the rice, before moving on to the fish. This sauce would be good with chicken, pasta or just about anything else. In this meal, it added just a bit of tanginess to the meal.
Creamy Lemon Sauce
- Dry White Wine, 1 cup
- Heavy Cream, 1 cup
- Shallot, 1
- Lemons, 2
- Light Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon
- Cayenne, just a dash
- Butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons
Dice the shallot and juice the lemons. Then heat the olive oil in a small, heavy saucepan and add the shallot. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat, until the shallots begin to soften.
Add the wine and bring it to a low boil. Let it continue to simmer until the wine is reduced by about half.
Reduce the heat to very low before adding the cream and cayenne. Stir in the cream until it’s heated through. Just before serving, add the lemon juice and butter, stirring until the butter is melted. If you prefer, strain out the shallots before transferring to a serving dish.
The Vanilla Rice couldn’t be easier.
- Jasmine or Basmati Rice, 2 cups
- Light Olive Oil, 2 to 3 tablespoons
- Water, 4 cups
- Vanilla Bean
- Sugar, 2 tablespoons
- Vanilla Extract, 1 tablespoon (not shown)
Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the rice, stirring for a few minutes until it’s well-coated. Add the water, raise the heat and bring it to a boil.
Drop in the vanilla bean and throw in the sugar. Reduce heat to low, cover and let it simmer undisturbed for about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is done.
Just before serving, stir in a little vanilla extract.
Now on to the fish:
- Tilapia, or other mild white fish
- Panko, 1/2 cup
- Pecans, ground, 1/2 cup
- Parsley, 1/4 cup snipped
- Butter, 1 stick or more
Combine the bread crumbs, pecans and parsley in a small bowl. Stir in about 3/4 stick of melted butter, just enough to get it to lightly hold together.
Over medium to medium-high heat, melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick skillet. Season the fish with salt and pepper before placing it in the pan.
After 3 or 4 minutes, when the fish is done underneath, just beginning to brown along the edges, turn it over and spoon the pecan mixture over each piece.
Cover and let it cook for another minute or so.
The butter will be a bit brown and bubble and the pecan crust will be heated through.
Remove the fish to a serving platter.
Drizzle with the cream sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy alongside the rice.