Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pepper and Parm Crusted Halibut with Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce

Unexpected company is almost always a good thing.  Except when your studio apartment is destroyed after laundry day or you've been busy cheffing the night before, but too lazy to have yet done the dishes.  Which, I have to admit, dish laziness is becoming a real issue round these parts.  I love cooking, but seriously, I am so over doing dishes.  Eating by yourself + no dishwasher = real motivational problems.

So when I had unexpected company AND a relatively clean apartment, I was psyched.  But even more psyched because I looked like a domestic diva when I "spontaneously" whipped up this easy fish dish below.  That and I had a fabulous bottle of chilled white on hand to compliment it. 

(But we all know that this sista is a planner.  Shhhhhhhhh.... I prefer to bask in spontaneous adoration.)

Pepper and Parm Crusted Whitefish with Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce (as adapted from Rachael Ray)
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a few basil leaves, torn
  • salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup of cornmeal, or parmesean bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parm-reggiano cheese
  • course black pepper
  • 4 8 oz halibut fillets or other white fish
  • EVOO
  • balsamic vinegar
Ready to get after it?  Let's go.
Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and stir for a couple of minutes to saute and get some aromas going to get your mouth watering. Add the tomatoes and basil and saute for 10 to 15 minutes.  The goal here is to break down the tomatoes, getting a sauce 'ablending.

Mix the cornmeal with the cheese and black pepper.  I realized that corn starch and corn meal aren't substitutes for each other, so I made a game time decision and went with bread crumbs.

Side note:  Anytime I say bread crumbs, I start giggling.  In Thailand, there was a menu that listed one of the ingredients as "Bread Grumbs".  BREAD GRUMBS!  Ha.  There was also a menu item called Cream Cheese Magaroni and Fried Chicken, kentuky style.  bahahahaha.  Oh Thailand, your english interpretations crack me up.  I know, you kinda had to be there, but trust me, we couldn't stop laughing our asses off.  Then we proceeded to have the second worst meal of the trip.

You can cook the fish one of two ways:

As Rachael Ray does:
Add the fish (to corn meal mixture) and turn to coat. Heat a thin layer of EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook, turning once, until crisp and brown all over, 8 to 10 minutes.

Or as Kelley does:
Coat fish in bread grumbs and bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes.  Rachael goes for crispy, I go for baked. 

Once done, top the fish with the tomato deliciousness and drizzle with some balsamic.  Done and Done.

I was too hungry to appropriately take anytime to plate this for pictures, but there was a bottle of Kim Crawford calling my name.  Anyone who knows me knows that Kim is my favorite bottle of wine and I cannot be stopped in it's consumption - even if you're on glass 5 at $12 a glass on a Tuesday night.

However, you'll have to trust me, this was more YUM-O that the pictures indicate.






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