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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grilled Tilapia on Garlicky Pea Tendrils and Wild Rice with Apricot Cream Sauce

Aaaaaah, complexity. The sauce alone was a burst of 'every which way but loose.' But together? The fish? The pea tendrils? Garlic?? This dish blasted the palette with emotions.

I started thinking about it when I bought the pea tendrils. As stated in the link, you can pick these up at a Chinese grocery store. I bought a huge bag and had to share them with my friend. Got those, check.

Then I wanted to swirl those around and place them on top of a starch. Maybe mashed potatoes? Nah. But colorful brown rice? That was the ticket. And while searching the cupboard for wild rice, I stumbled across some dried apricots that have been yearning to be turned into a sauce. Boom! Meal 3/4 together.

A main? Could have been shrimp or scallops, but the thought of plating led me to want a substantial piece to lay against the tendril and rice stack. In retrospect, I think having evenly spaced seared scallops surrounding the stack would have been amazing too, but that's for next time.

Now, down to business:

Grilled Tilapia:
Rub some olive oil, ample salt and black pepper into all sides of the Tilapia fillet. Let it sit out of the fridge for about 15 minutes or so, while your grill heats up. You'll want to grill this about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Garlicky Pea Tendrils:

5 cloves garlic, minced
A pile of pea tendrils, washed and drained (should pile about as high as a sourdough loaf)

Pour some olive oil in a large pan and heat on high. Add garlic and fry about 30 seconds. Add pea tendrils and stir quickly and constantly. Add kosher salt, stir. Add about 2 Tbs water and fry for another minute. To serve, you'll want to twist this with tongs and then left out, allowing the liquid to drain back into the pan before you plate it.

Wild Rice:

I buy this in bulk from Henry's Market. I use about 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. Actually, I tend to use part chicken broth, part water. It's your choice, though. Bring the water to a boil (don't have your rice in it yet). Add the rice and 1 Tbs of butter. Mix, and bring back to a boil. Cover and lower heat - cook for about 40 minutes.

Apricot Cream Sauce:

Chop 1/2 large red onion
Chop 1 large handful of apricots
Chop 1 large carrot
mince 3 cloves garlic
Slice 1/2 ring of lemon
mince 1 tsp fresh ginger
Chop 3 stems chive (or use leek- about 1/4 of the white part, sliced in rings)
1 can chicken broth

Heat olive oil in a small pot. Add onion and fry for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, stirring another 30 seconds or so, until fragrant. Add apricots, fry another minute. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add carrots and chive. Pour about 1/4 (or 1/2 cup) of sake into the mix and continue boiling. After about 5 minutes, reduce the heat til it continues to bubble. Cook this way for about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl, rinse out the pot if any chunks remain, and return the strained liquid to the pot. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and cook another 10 minutes. Pour in a small amount of heavy cream and continue cooking another 5-10 minutes. Off the heat and drop in a small amount of butter, and swirl to melt. This is your sauce.


~ Brock

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