Thursday, May 30, 2013

A 'fishy' thing happened on the way to the forum

I didn't go to any forum....the title is just a play on a play, well, a musical. But something is fishy because I cooked fish not once, but TWICE this week: lobster risotto on Monday (because it was a holiday, and I forced myself to do SOMETHING) and crispy chipotle tilapia last night. Let me give you the recipes, then after each, I'll dish on my experiences. Buckle up because these recipes are gonna get you hook, line, and sinker.

Simple Lobster Risotto (

4 C fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 ½ C water
3 (5oz) American lobster tails
3 Tbsp butter, divided
1 C uncooked Arborio rice
¾ C frozen green peas, thawed

  • Bring broth and 1 ½ C water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lobster tails; cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove lobster from pan; cool for 5 minutes.
  • Remove meat from cooked lobster tails, reserving shells (I used a kitchen scissors to do this). Chop meat. Return the shells to the broth mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Strain shell mixture, reserving broth, discard solids and shells. Return broth mixture to saucepan; keep warm over low heat.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 C broth mixture, and cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
  • Reserve 2 Tbsp broth mixture. Add the remaining broth mixture, ½ C at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next portion (about 22 minutes total).
  • Remove from heat, and stir in lobster, the reserved 2 Tbsp broth mixture, 2 Tbsp butter, and green peas.

Risotto is not for the faint of heart. Stirring constantly for 22 minutes is a lot (let me tell you, my wrists felt it the next day. See how out of shape I am?!); and not something one could likely do after a day's work. This is not a set it and forget it meal, that's for sure. So make this one on a weekend or a holiday, and/or when lobster tails are on sale!

The recipe turned out well, but it was a little too rich for my taste. My husband ate it right up, though, second helpings even. And the good guy took the leftovers to work on Tuesday and today. Kudos. The recipe is a keeper because it incorporates a decadent ingredient in a fairly simple way. Growing up my family ate lobster on rare occasions, and it was always a big to do, so it's a luxury to me. Bottom line on Simple Lobster Risotto: do it.

Crispy Chipotle Lime Tilapia with Cool Avocado Sauce (

1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp adobo sauce from the can (no need to buy extra adobo sauce, the sauce from the can is plenty)
¼ C salsa
1 Tbsp lime juice
4 tilapia fillets
2 C tortilla chips, crushed

1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into large chunks
¼ C sour cream
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp milk
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Combine the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, salsa and 1 Tbsp lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth (I used an immersion blender; worked like a charm.); brush the mixture over both sides of each tilapia fillet.
  • Spread the crushed tortilla chips into the bottom of a deep dish; dredge the coated fillets in the chips to coat. Arrange the fillets on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake the fillets for 15 minutes; at 15 minutes, flip the fillets and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • While the fish bakes, place the avocado, sour cream, and 1 Tbsp lime juice and blend until smooth (again, I worked that immersion blender....perfect tool for this). Stir in the milk 1 Tbsp at a time until the consistency is similar to ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the baked fillets to serve.

Ok, this one was easy and tilapia fillets, unbeknownst to me, are cheap. My go-to meats are chicken and beef. Fish is uncharted territory. Tilapia is a nice, white fish, not fishy at all or even slimy. The lobster tails were much worse to work with. Gah.

So I came home from work yesterday, changed, hugged my dog, and immediately mixed up the two sauces needed for this recipe. That was the way to go because I was able to relax a little--the sauces were the most time consuming part of this. I also cut up fingerling potatoes, tossed them with olive oil and salt/pepper, and baked those for 45 minutes at the same temperature as the fish. So that worked well.

AND, I took a fillet, potatoes and corn for lunch today, with the avocado sauce! The meal warmed up well. Oh and I had extra avocado sauce, which really was the cherry on top for this recipe, so guess what I did? Instead of throwing the extra sauce away, a sin in my mind, I went to the mini-mart down the street from my office and bought a bag of pretzels to scoop the rest of the sauce into my mouth. Nice, huh? Here's the evidence of that, and you can also see what a nice color that sauce becomes. Bottom line on Crispy Chipotle Lime Tilapia with Cool Avocado Sauce: DEFINITELY do it.

Well, it's Friday tomorrow. Cheers to that.