I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

July 23, 2010

Tilapia with a Spanish Almond Sauce* (p. 377) and Oven-Braised Carrots (p. 305)

*Really, this is supposed to be made with halibut. But $18.99 a pound?!? I don't think so.


I had two lovely vegetarian ladies over for dinner last night, so fish and a veggie side it was. I also had some almonds leftover from my basic rice pilaf the other night, so it was as good a time as any to make a fish needing an almond sauce.

This fish preparation takes a kind of long time, but it's not particularly difficult. The first few steps just involve sautéing and browning a few things in olive oil, individually. First, soften garlic slivers and remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

In the same pan, toast the almonds until golden brown. Remove them to a separate bowl with the slotted spoon.

Next, add bread cubes to the oil until each piece of bread is golden brown. Add this to the same bowl as the almonds.

Chop parsley and put it in a food processor with the garlic -- puree them together. Add the almonds and the bread and then a mixture of saffron, lemon juice, black pepper, and cinnamon, all pounded together. Process these ingredients together for only a short time so that the sauce is still fairly crunchy.

Add a bit more olive oil to the skillet and sauté chopped onions and leeks until soft. Set these aside in a bowl and put fish steaks that have been coated in salt, pepper and flour into the skillet. Quickly brown both sides of the fish and remove them to an oven-safe dish. Pour the onion/leek mixture over the top of the fish and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add a combination of white wine and sherry to the skillet and allow the alcohol to reduce along with any residue left in the skillet. When it has mostly reduced, add it the sauce that has been prepared in the food processor, called a pepitoria sauce. Pour this sauce over the fish and cook for another 20 minutes.

This was light and lovely. My friend Sarah likened the pepitoria sauce to Thanksgiving stuffing, except with a Mediterranean twist. And it is -- it's fluffy and delicious and adds a really nice flavor to the fish.

With this, I served a carrot dish. I'm sure y'all are tired of me saying I hate cooked carrots, but I do. Sorry.

For this dish, make sure you use a pot that is oven-safe, because the same pan needs to be used both on the burner and in the stove. To start, sauté onions in olive oil until they are soft. Add carrots that have been cut in half lengthwise and then chopped into two inch segments. Pour in chicken stock (I still have some homemade left!) and leave the pot over medium heat until the stock comes to a boil.

Put the lid on the pan and put it into the oven for about 40 minutes.

Eh. These are fine, cooked carrots are just way too sweet for me.

tilapia -- $13.99
bread -- $2.19 (most is left)
leek -- $1.14
parsley -- $1.69 (with plenty left)
onion -- $1.37 (half left)
lemon -- $.89
Total Cost of Tilapia with a Spanish Sauce : $21.27 (which made about 6 servings)

carrots -- $2.49 (half left)
onion -- $1.01
Total Cost of Oven-Braised Carrots : $3.50

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Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.