Thursday, August 6, 2009

Steamed Lime-Ginger Basil Tilapia W/ Cranberry Bacon Fried Rice

I think for the first time ever, I actually went to Whole Foods and couldn't find what I really wanted. I wanted a whole trout. No trout whatsoever. I wanted a whole fish, but they only had Red Snapper or Mackerel and neither tickled my fancy (especially because we we're on a really tight budget) while I was at the counter. So hmm... I go in with a game plan and have to improvise I guess. I know a lot of people give Tilapia a lot of slack, because it's not worthy or whatnot. But I believe in giving every fish a chance, so I chose Tilapia.

Ingredients for Trout:

2 Tilapia fillets (or any white fish)
1 Lime
1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
3 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lay out 2 pieces of aluminum foil, big enough to wrap the tilapia in. Place tilapia on foil and drizzle olive oil on both sides. This helps to keep the fish moist and not let it stick to the foil. Grate some ginger over top side of tilapia, squeeze lime juice over fillets, and stick 3 basil leaves under tilapia.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I cut the lime into slices and placed it over the tilapia before wrapping, but I would suggest not doing this. Although it looks very beautiful, when cooking in the oven, the rind from the lime overpowers the taste of the tilapia. So definitely save slices for an ending garnish, rather than a cooked in flavor.

Wrap tilapia in foil, but not tight, kind of allow for a tent-like wrapping.

Cook in oven for about 10-15 minutes. Tilapia is a very light fish so it shouldn't take very long at all. Unwrap and serve over cranberry fried rice.

But how do you make the cranberry fried rice you ask? I was getting to that...

Ingredients for Cranberry Bacon Fried Rice:

1 cup long grain brown rice
2 & 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup cranberries, soaked in white wine
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 slices chopped bacon
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (I used parsley and basil, with a dash of dried oregano)
salt and pepper to taste

I really like this fried rice recipe mostly because it's a Filipino-style fried rice. What the difference from Chinese fried rice and Filipino fried rice you ask? Well, if you notice, when you go to a Chinese buffet, the rice usually has bits of eggs in it, along with a brown color, from soy sauce, and it's not very "fried". It has somewhat of a soft texture to it.

Well, Filipino fried rice, is actually crispy, but still soft enough to know it's rice. No eggs, no soy sauce. Not in the ones my mom used to make anyway. And this definitely is an upgraded version of my mom's version.

Start by bringing a pot of chicken stock to a boil. Add rice. Cover and let cook for about 30 minutes, when all of rice has soaked up the majority of the stock. Then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat up wok or skillet over medium to high heat and add bacon. Fry bacon for about 2 to 3 minutes, until almost done. Then add shallots and garlic. Saute for about a minute or two.

Add rice. Drain cranberries and reserve some of the wine. Add cranberries to rice and stir thoroughly. If rice seems a bit dry or not to your liking, add some of the wine in, otherwise you can drink it (it's quite tasty!).

Stir in fresh herbs and serve with tilapia!

This was a great meal. The fried rice exceeded all of my expectations and I might have to challenge my mother to a fried rice-off in the near future. The tilapia, like I said, could have been better if I had just left the lime slices off of it until after I plated, but still a good meal!

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