French in a Flash: Tilapia with Tarragon Pistou

RECIPE: Tilapia with Tarragon Pistou
Tilapia with Tarragon Pistou

Tilapia with Tarragon Pistou

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Pistou is from the South of France, a French answer to pesto that always makes me think of summer, as it’s the only time I’ve been to sun-soaked, herb-overrun Provence. Tarragon is an underused and under-appreciated herb in American cooking, but in France it is quite commonly paired with tomatoes or seafood. Its slight anise flavor partners with fish in that perfect, fresh way that fennel does, but more delicately, and with a sort of basil-like sweetness and freshness. It also adds a nontraditional and unexpected note to a basil pistou, adding a sophistication to the dish.

I love tilapia because it’s a cheap and cheerful blank canvas. All this dish requires is a quick sauté and a whirl around the food processor. And then the delicate, heady summer scents of basil and tarragon fill the kitchen. Spoon this pistou over the tilapia when it is still hot, or top seared sea scallops, or plaster onto grilled jumbo shrimp. It even works over grilled salmon on the barbecue. It’s a great summer recipe that’s easy, but still a touch (and I say this tongue-in-cheek) gourmet.

Tilapia with Tarragon Pistou
serves 2
Tilapia with Tarragon PistouIngredients
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2/3 cup fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for searing the fish
  • 2 1/2-lb fillets of boneless, skinless tilapia
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Lemon for serving

Procedure

  1. In a food processor, obliterate the garlic. Add the tarragon and basil leaves, and pulse to break up. Add the walnuts, and season with salt and pepper. Pulse to a rubble. Stream in the olive oil with the machine running. You should have the texture of a pesto.
  2. Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the tilapia filets on both sides with salt and pepper, and drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil into the hot pan. Sear the fish about 3 minutes on each side, until golden on the outside, and flaky.
  3. Serve the seared fish with a big scoop of tarragon pistou on top, with lemon wedges alongside.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

French in a Flash: Sweet Onion and Goat Cheese Tartlets

RECIPE: Sweet Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts
Sweet Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts

Sweet Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

I’m a grazer. I know I’m supposed to eat three meals a day, but I’d rather take one bite of a million little things than sit down to a huge pot. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life. And my rapacity for variety is why I make an utter fool of myself at cocktail parties. All day, I save up with trembling anticipation for all the little bites I’m going to snatch and devour as they swivel past on silver trays, and I manage to spend more time chasing waiters than toasting the cause of the fête. A few months ago, I was balancing a hot sausage, a flute of champagne, and an imminent handshake—I ended up burned and stained. Je ne regrette rien!

These little tarts are inspired by pissaladière, from the sweet caramelized onions to the pastry crust (although pissaladière is usually made from a yeast, pizza dough-like crust, puff pastry is an acceptable alternative). But these are softer and sweeter, with the sweetness of the onions enhanced with caramelized brown sugar, and the tang of the fresh goat cheese grounded in the earthiness of thyme.They are crisp and gooey and sweet and savory. And while I do like a million little different bites, the day I made these, all the bites were identical—I ate the whole batch! Serve these with a Côtes de Provence, or a drink called La Piscine that I discovered poolside in Juan des Pins: champagne on the rocks. Bon app!

Sweet Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts
makes 9
Sweet Onion and Goat Cheese TartsIngredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 stems fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed, but very cold
  • 2 ounces fresh chèvre (goat) cheese

Procedure

  1. In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and thyme, and sauté, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar to the onions, and sauté another 10 minutes, adjusting the heat if the onions are turning brown too quickly.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Lay out the puff pastry, and use a 2 1/4-inch biscuit cutter to cut out 9 puff pastry circles.
  6. Arrange the pastry circles on a cookie sheet. Top with the onion mixture (remove the thyme stems!), then top with chèvre. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and crisp.
  7. Garnish, if you like, with the stingiest drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and more fresh thyme.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 60 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Bread & Butter, Eat, For a Crowd, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Tarts, Quiches, Pizzas, Vegetarian
 

French In A Flash: Red Pistou Pasta With Shrimp And Crunchy Herbes De Provence Crumbs

RECIPE: Red Pistou Pasta With Shrimp And Crunchy Herbes De Provence Crumbs
Red Pistou Pasta

Red Pistou Pasta

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Last summer about this time I arrived in Provence for a three week family holiday in Cassis, a storybook fishing village turned fashionable retreat. Like any food writer worth her salt, I arrived armed with a list of Provençal specialties I wanted to have at the source, like wine off the vineyard or water gushing from the spring. Unadulterated and authentic.

The list included the likes of soupe de poisson, bouillabaisse, socca, pissaladièretapenade, and aïoli. It was enumerable—and I managed to eat it all. But first on my list was the contested pistou.

Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 30 Minutes, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches
 

The Secret Ingredient (Key Lime) Part II: Key Lime Shrimp Tacos

RECIPE: Key Lime Shrimp Tacos
Key Limes

Key Limes

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Key limes were brought to the States by Spanish explorers, and the limes continued to entrench themselves in the tropics and subtropics of the New World, including South Florida and its famed Keys—and my backyard, where we had a key lime tree until a citrus blight in the 1990s.

As I wrote last week, key limes are smaller, paler, yellower, and more acidic than the standard lime.Hence, their taste is incomparable. So incomparable, in fact, that according to Wikipedia, in 1965 a state representative proposed a $100 fine on anyone selling key lime pie (the state pie, of course) made using any lime other than key limes. It didn’t pass, but I do think that selling key lime anything that does not quickly impart that distinct acidic sweetness—almost a vanilla tinge—is selling under false pretenses!

Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient
 

The Secret Ingredient (Key Lime) Part III: Key Lime Granita with Vodka

RECIPE: Key Lime Granita
Key Lime Granita

Key Lime Granita

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Key lime pie is this Florida girl’s favorite dessert. This granita version is slightly less guilt-inducing. It starts with yellow jade key lime juice, super tart, with vanilla sugar and cream for a little key lime pie something. A shot of vodka doesn’t hurt.

This recipe is super tart, like a lime FrozeFruit popsicle. If you like it less strident, decrease the amount of lime juice and up the proportion of water, or add a bit more vanilla sugar to your taste.

Key Lime Granita

Key Lime GranitaIngredients

  • 1 cup key lime juice (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup vanilla sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Procedure

Bring the key lime juice, water, and vodka to a boil, and add the vanilla sugar.  You could add the vodka later if you wanted to keep the alcohol content.  Once the sugar has dissolved, take the mixture off the stove to cool.

Add the cream (and the vodka if you want to retain the alcohol) and decant into a brownie baking dish.  Place in the freezer, and scrape with a fork once an hour for 4 hours or until flakey and frozen in little key lime pie crystals.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient
 

French in a Flash: Niçoise Tuna Cakes

RECIPE: Niçoise Tuna Cakes
Niçoise Tuna Cakes

Niçoise Tuna Cakes

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

I love crab cakes. If they’re on the menu, I order them. I devised this departure from crab cakes not out of boredom, but in the attempt to create yet another thing to sate my adoration. Crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside; light, briny, and hearty. They’re perfect.

In this version, I start with fresh tuna steak, cooked medium, and flaked to the texture of crab meat. Then, I pepper the meat with the flavors of a Niçoise salad: capers, lemon, olive oil, anchovies, garlic, olives, and thyme. Bind with crumbs made from the stale butts of leftover baguettes and mayonnaise, and you have a cake that is altogether unconventional. I serve it with easy tapenade crème fraîche and lemon aïoli that are lessons in how to renovate store-bought ingredients into something that tastes homemade.

Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 30 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Individual, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

French in a Flash: Printemps Penne with Green Vegetables and Goat Cheese

RECIPE: Printemps Penne
Printemps Penne

Printemps Penne

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Most of the time in this column, I am inspired by the classic dishes and preparations of France. But this week, I’m not spinning a coq au vin or a cassoulet, but rather attempting to eat as the French eat: by season.

I admit that it is not my forté, and I wonder if others have the same difficulty. I believe that the omnipresence of certain vegetables and fruits and meats in our supermarkets have led us to crave, and settle for, basil in wintertime or Brussels sprouts in summer. Food prices are generally affordable enough that we do not always notice an out-of-season premium, and local farmer’s markets of local, seasonal produce can often be heartbreakingly more expensive than the supermarket.

Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Leave a comment
Share

Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian