Thursday, March 24, 2016

15 Minute Meal: Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia with Avocado Cream

Weeknight dinners are tough sometimes. With four boys in after school activities, sports, music and scouting I often just need to have something quick to make for dinner without buying Little Caesar's Hot N' Ready--again. I love it when I find a delicious dinner I can make in around 15 minutes. I love it even more if it's inexpensive.

Martha Stewart's cornmeal crusted tilapia has been a favorite around here for several years. We usually eat it plain with some sides or maybe a little salsa, but recently I discovered the perfect accompaniment to it: avocado cream. Avocado. Cream. Even the name sounds delicious and full of promise. Most of my family loved it, except for my son who doesn't like avocados and my husband who doesn't like sour cream (heretics!). Fair warning: if you don't like avocados or sour cream you're probably going to want to find a different recipe because you won't like this.

Avocado Cream* (adapted from Clean and Delicious)
Two ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup full fat sour cream (you can use 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt if you want to watch your fat and calories)
1 tablespoon lime juice (or 1/2 of a fresh lime, squeezed--I usually just use Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime juice which I always keep in my fridge)
1/2 teaspoon salt, give or take a little, to taste

Mash up the avocado until creamy and mostly smooth (a few lumps are fine) with a fork and stir in the sour cream, lime juice and salt until well blended and creamy.

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia* (adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food)
2 pounds tilapia, fresh or thawed from frozen (I buy mine at Aldi and it is very economical)
2/3 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons paprika
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and about 1/4 teaspoon of pepper because my family aren't huge pepper fans)
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided.

Using a large frying pan or electric skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. In a shallow dish, combine cornmeal, paprika, salt and pepper with a fork or whisk until blended. Coat each side of the fish fillet in the cornmeal and place in the hot frying pan. (I fit five fillets in my electric skillet at once without crowding). Cook for three minutes. Flip. Cook for three minutes more or until golden brown and crispy. The texture should be firm and will flake a little when you cut into it. Remove to a warm plate. Repeat with second batch of fish.
This made 10 fish fillets. It served my family of six (four growing boys) with seconds for those who wanted them and no left-overs.

Quick Black Beans
1 can black beans rinse and drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
generous dash of cumin (to taste)
red pepper flakes (optional)

Place the beans in a small bowl. Microwave on high for one to two minutes or until heated through (microwave times vary). Stir in the garlic salt, olive oil and cumin. Serve with red pepper flakes on the side for those who like some heat. I made one can initially but these were received better than I thought they would be so I ended up making another batch. Why not? They only took a total of three minutes to make and were so, so easy.

Serve the tilapia, with a dollop of avocado cream and a side of the beans. You can serve it with a salad, or steamed vegetable, or you can add a side of rice to the meal too if you'd like. Even with all that you can still have a delicious, healthy and well-balanced dinner on the table in about 15 to 20 minutes.

Happy eating!

*You could easily halve both the avocado cream and tilapia recipes for a smaller family.

1 comment:

Samuel James Dunn, Esq. said...

I woke up late this morning and had to rush out the door without eating breakfast or fixing myself a lunch. Reading this made me really hungry. Like, I'm sitting here at my desk debating whether or not I should cancel my office hours, go to the grocery store for materials, and then go home and make this. I probably won't, but if the purpose of writing is to move your audience, know that this morning you have succeeded. At least emotionally.