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Generally Recognized As True: Wild rice, tilapia, and mushroom & onion sauce... plus spinach!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wild rice, tilapia, and mushroom & onion sauce... plus spinach!

For some (good) reason or another, I thought these would go well together and they really, really did.

You need:
  • 1 filet tilapia fish
  • 1 small onion
  • 1.5 white/Cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup wild rice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • olive oil for rubbing tilapia
  • handful of spinach
  • salt and pepper
The steps are below. Obviously, you can (and should) organize these so that some of them run in parallel.

Wild rice
There's not much to this, it just takes a long time to cook (mostly unattended). Rinse and drain the rice, put it in a well-covered saucepan with 2.25x as much water as rice (i.e. for 1/3 cup rice, use about 3/4 cup water). Try 1/4 cup rice to begin with, since I found 1/3 cup a bit over-filling. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a very low simmer and leave it there for 40-45 minutes. Remove from heat (keep it covered) and let stand for 10 minutes in the saucepan and then flake it with a fork.

Not much to this, either. Rubbed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then baked in the oven at 425F for about 10 minutes. I used High Liner frozen tilapia, which is better than the fresh I've tried (see the end of the post for more on this).

Mushroom & onion sauce
Heat about 1.5 tbsp butter in a saucepan on 60% heat. Meanwhile, cut about one-and-a-half white or Cremini mushrooms into thin slices, and dice a small onion. Add mushroom & onion to the butter when it's fragrant and bubbly. Sweat them for about 5 minutes, stirring to redistribute every minute or so. Add about 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour and stir to coat (it will look very dry). Cook for another minute. Add about 1/3 cup milk, stir, bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring periodically. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Wash spinach and steam for 2 minutes.

I'm not very good at picking wines to go with food, so I just picked up the one I had on hand and it worked very well -- much to my surprise. I don't usually buy pricey wines, and this was no exception. It was Pelee Island Cabernet Franc VQA 2007 -- an Ontario (Canada) wine.

That's about it. I just put the rice around around the edge, the tilapia in the middle, the sauce on top of the tilapia, and the spinach on the side.

The only potential problem I can think of is that the quality of tilapia seems very variable. I've had frozen tilapia that tasted very good and was firm/flaky (High Liner) and fresh tilapia that was rather soft and tasted of chlorine. Since I see nothing at all wrong with the frozen tilapia (and since it is farmed and can presumably be frozen at the peak of freshness), I keep buying the High Liner stuff.

Once the rice is taking care of itself, it's a pretty quick meal, and it tastes really good. I think the reason is that the main flavours -- wild rice, mushroom, spinach -- are all quite musty in taste. You can hardly detect an edge between the three flavours and they integrate really well. The tilapia and onion are both sweet (as are the butter and milk in the sauce).

1 comment:

ace said...

tilapia! you eat tilapia?! how cool. lol.