Search The Rusted Garden Blog: Just Enter A Vegetable or Phrase

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tilapia and Squash: Getting the Vegetables to the Table

The garden is producing warm crops. Today I looked through it and picked a few things. I made a fish dish and used left over pasta. One of the best things about gardening is creating a meal based on what is freshly available. I mean right off the plants. That fresh!

The ingredients from the garden: two button squash, a zucchini, a few small onions, two jalapenos, purple basil, sweet basil and cilantro.

The ingredients from the store: about 6-8 oz of tilapia and left over pasta.

I pretty much cook without recipes. If you want to try something like this, season it how you wish and just don't over cook it. It will turn out just fine.

I measured 1 1/2 cups of pasta, diced the jalapenos and onions together. The zucchini and squash were sliced as seen above and the basil and cilantro were chopped up. The salad dressing is just vinegar and oil. I only used one of the button squash for this meal.

The four tilapia fillets were cooked in oil, garlic powder and Montreal Steak seasoning. You can just use salt and pepper or whatever seasoning you like. I put some oil in a non-stick pan and seasoned the pan. Once, hot I dropped the fillets on. I cooked them on medium high #7 heat. They take about 3-4 minutes on each side. Stop cooking when they are white through the fillet.  The fish should be cooked and removed from the pan. Place them in a bowl and set them to the side. 

You should continue to use the same pan. I prefer using the same pan to pass on the flavors. I like cooking in layers and separating the food to prevent over cooking and the over mixing of flavors.

I turned the temperature down to about #4 or medium low heat and added some oil and salt. I used coarse salt. The goal is to sweat the jalapenos and onions on lower heat.  You don't want the onions to turn brown, just become translucent. This takes about 6 to 8 minutes. Adding salt pulls the liquids out of the vegetables and gets the flavors going.

Add the squash and zucchini right to the onions and jalapenos and give it some salt and oil. They should be cooked on higher heat like the fish which was cooked on #7. I have an electric stove.  You only want to cook it about 4 to 6 minutes to warm the vegetables through and slightly slightly soften them. You don't want super soft vegetables. The fish should be broken up into large pieces as shown in the bowl. Don't over mash the fish. Break it up.

Heat the pasta in the microwave with some butter or substitute for about 45 seconds. Add the pasta to the pan along with the herbs. You are adding the herbs last so they don't get over cooked. Adding them last maintains the herbs color and fresh picked flavor. Mix the ingredients together on the same heat for 3 or 4 minutes.

Plate it. I decided not to add the fish into the whole mix. I made this recipe up as I went along and based it on what was available in the garden and in the house. I kept the fish to the side because I felt the flavor would get lost if it was tossed into the pasta and vegetables as I originally planned. 

That's pretty much it.  It is a pale looking dish. Round yellow plates were the wrong plate. I should have used our square burnt orange plates. The dish would have popped with color.  Ah well! but it tasted great. 

My wife gave it a 7 1/2. I thought it was a 9. But she said a 10 is really hard to reach. Let's see how she feels when nothing is waiting for her when she comes home next time.

If You Use Amazon, Please Support The Rusted Garden via My Amazon Affilate