09 April 2009

More Delicious Summer Flavor

Apparently I have decided it is time to forget about wintery foods and dive straight ahead into summery treats! This next meal definitely says summer to me - refreshing, spicy pineapple salsa on top of pan seared fish with some rich and zesty Santa Maria Pinquito Beans. In case you have never visited Rancho Gordo's website, I highly recommend a look-see. There is lots of good information for anyone who loves beans, and there is plenty of shopping if you are interested in trying some interesting beans.

Up until the past year or so, I was terrified of dried beans - I have no idea why. Now that I have "mastered" making them from scratch, I am mystefied at my earlier fears. Beans are incredibly forgiving in my experience. You can add whatever ingredients you have around to create a tasty stock, in this case I cooked the beans with garlic and a large handful of dried jalapenos from Penzeys. (Check out Rancho Gordo's instructions on making beans here.) The beans are flavorful and creamy, and they paired beautifully with chopped avocado and lime juice. It was the perfect side dish to the zingy pineapple salsa. I loved how the sweet, acidic tang of pineapple salsa cut through the creamy richness of the beans.

So onto the pineapple salsa - I have made many pineapple salsas in my life. It is a personal favorite when paired with a lean protein. I love it with shrimp, fish, chicken, just about anything. It is very simple to put together - usually a base of pineapple, onions and lime juice with whatever add-in's the recipe requires. I was reminded of my love for pineapple salsa when my mom pointed out this article in our local newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch. I think the recipe from the article is a great starting point, and the only significant change I made was to add a chopped jalapeno for heat - I love my spicy food! I also substituted cod for the tilapia out of personal preference.

This was a super simple summer supper to throw together. I definitely recommend trying the salsa with shrimp or chicken if fish isn't your favorite. It is refreshing and light, and it also pairs very nicely with rice.

Tilapia with Fresh Pineapple Salad

The Columbus Dispatch

Makes 4 servings
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 medium Roma tomato
1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion, such as Vidalia
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves, loosely packed
1 tablespoon lime juice or to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 tilapia fillets (6 to 8 ounces each) or similar mild whitefish fillets
Cut pineapple chunks into fourths and place in a medium-size mixing bowl. Core tomato but don't peel it. Finely dice tomato, and add to bowl along with diced onion. Mince garlic, and add to pineapple mixture along with cilantro and lime juice. Stir to blend well. (Salad can be made and refrigerated up to 2 hours ahead.)
Heat oil in an extra-deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Place flour, salt and pepper in a gallon-size zipper-top bag. Add fish. Shake to lightly coat.
Place fillets in hot oil, increase the heat to medium-high, and saute until fish is lightly browned and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet.
To serve, spoon a thin bed of pineapple salad in the center of each of four dinner plates, reserving about 1/4 cup for garnish. Place a fish fillet over salad on each plate, and garnish with reserved salad.


Laura said...

Hmmm... this does not look much like a certain cabbage dish! Although it does look mighty tasty.

RecipeGirl said...

Count me in as someone who is still terrified of dried beans!! I haven't jumped on the RG bandwagon yet... I've browsed the site, but can't seem to make a decision. Pineapple sounds like a wonderful accompaniment to the beans.