I win. Don’t fight it. I made the strangest meal, and it actually tasted good. I-don’t-like-1-ingredient-in-your-19-ingredient-meal Hubby even liked it. Well, except for 1 ingredient, of course. But seriously. Who actually looks at a recipe with crooked eye brows, says out loud, “weird!,” and still prints it out to use that night? I’ll tell you who. People who have nothing but frozen fish, and other very random items on hand and don’t want to walk in the cold for other more traditionally-used-with-fish ingredients. I did have to stop for the oranges, but they were on the way, so it’s ok.
I’m going to start with the finished product photo first. It’s actually really pretty. In the middle of winter when everything in warming/comfort/cooked to death in a crock pot or Dutch oven, it was a welcome splash of color.
Yucatecan-Style Fish (Adapted from The Pampered Chef)
1 medium white onion
1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons snipped cilantro
2 tablespoons citrus and basil rub (I suppose you could try a homemade mix of lemon and lime zests and dried basil)
6 tilapia filets (4oz each) or croaker, if that’s what your hubby and his buddies caught on his bachelor-party-fishing-trip and they sent the groom home with all the fish
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 hard cooked egg, peeled
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of one of the oranges so that it will stand upright as you cut the peel off. Now cut the peel off, taking as little of the flesh, but as much of the pith with it as possible. With the peeled orange in your hand, use a paring knife to separate the segments. I started to do it all fancy-like by getting under the segment membrane. Don’t bother. You won’t know the difference. Just don’t separate the segments by pulling them apart. You need them to leak some juice. Set the deconstructed orange aside.
Next, slice the onion into thin half moons and the pepper into strips. Chop the cilantro or snip with kitchen shears.
Sprinkle the rub over both sides of each filet of fish and place in a large skillet with the oil heated over medium-high heat. Cook 4-5 minutes, turning once about 3 minutes in. Pile the onion and bell pepper on top and cover the skillet. Cook another 5-7 minutes or until fish is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are softened (I actually took the fish out and continued to cook the vegetables for another 5 minutes or so).
Place the fish on your serving platter. Pile the onion and peppers back on top, then the sliced egg, orange segments and cilantro. Juice the remaining orange over the fish and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.
Now stare at the dish as you stared at the recipe, and then give it a go. You won’t be disappointed. I’m not sure how it all works but it does. The pumpkin seeds weren’t the most welcome visitor on our plates, but they added some aesthetics. I wouldn’t say leave them out completely, but maybe use them sparingly.