Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wine-Poached Tilapia

I just found out that the largest tilapia farm is in Pueblo, Colorado. Not exactly a stone's throw from where I live, but the same state at least. Kind of interesting, but totally beside the point.

I like tilapia because it's relatively mild, relatively firm, and often on sale. It's my cheap go-to fish when I want fish but the pocketbook isn't willing to buy wild-caught salmon. Since it is so mild, it pairs well with all sorts of flavors, whether they're on the fish or on the side.

This time, I went with simplicity.
Wine-poached fish sounds fancy and perhaps difficult, but it's actually very easy. Poaching is a gentle way to cook, and it's easy to watch the fish and see how it's cooking, and if the fish is ready before you are, the liquid will help keep it warm for a while after you turn the heat off.

Wine-Poached Tilapia

12 ounce tilapia filets
Equal parts white wine and water
1 tablespoon capers
1 green onion, sliced thinly

The exact amount of liquid you need depends on the size of the pan you're using. I try to find a pan where the fish will fit snugly, so I need less liquid. That's less important when I'm poaching in water with some flavoring, but I don't want to waste good wine.

When the liquid should just barely cover the fish, and it should be just barely simmering - never boiling.

Just add all the ingredients (except the fish), bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the fish and simmer very gently until the fish is done. The time it will take depends on the thickness of the fish, but it a fairly quick process - about 5 minutes for an average piece of fish.

Cover on or cover off? If the fish is under the liquid, I don't see any difference. Poaching in an open pan makes it easier to watch the fish as it cooks and make sure you stop the cooking process before the fish overcooks.

That's it. Plate the fish, and serve with the capers and onions for a little extra flavor.