Fish Lettuce Cups

This evening, I was at the grocery store to get some dinner essentials for tonight’s meal. I wasn’t quite sure what I was craving at the time and was trying to gain some inspiration from the produce aisle.  I grabbed a couple of different items that would help me to create a dynamic dish of flavors and color: 

-Cabbage for crunch and greenery 

-Radicchio for a bitter bite and bright purple coloring 

-Green apple for a tart, crunchy, fresh ingredient 

-Tomatoes for a sweet, bright flavor 

-Serrano pepper for some spice 

-Lime for an acidic note 

-Oranges for a sweet, acidic addition 

I had my produce and decided tilapia was the way to go tonight. It’s a fairly inexpensive fish and looked super fresh today. I now had my protein and was ready to make these ingredients work together. I enjoy piecing together a delicious meal from scratch and not always knowing what it’s going to be from the start. 

I unloaded my bags and laid everything out on the counter. I decided on making a fish taco with lettuce cups. I washed my produce and cut into my cabbage. I pulled apart the lettuce so I could have individual cups for the food to go into. Next, I cut into my radicchio. I knew that if I was going to use radicchio, I wanted to roast it a bit to tone down the bitterness and add a crunchy quality. I tossed it in a bowl with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and herbs de provence. I laid it out onto a baking sheet and cooked it at 450 for 12 minutes on one side and 8 on the other side.

Next I cut up my sweet onion, tomato and Serrano pepper. I added them into a sautée pan with some vegetable oil, salt, pepper and a bit of cilantro. I let these cook down just a bit. I didn’t want the tomatoes to get too soggy, yet I wanted to release some of the spice from the pepper. Once the onions were just soft, I took the pan off the heat and let them cool. I wanted this to serve as a pico de gallo for my tacos. As my pico cooled, I took the radicchio out of the oven. It had shrunk a bit, but had gained a crunchy texture that I was excited about. I set these aside to cool as well. 

Next, it was time to focus on the fish! I seasoned the fish on both sides with salt, pepper and lime juice. I then softened some garlic with some vegetable oil in a sautee pan. I let this heat up and when the garlic became fragrant I put the fish in the pan at medium high heat. It began to sizzle in the oil and I added an extra squeeze of lime juice. I let the tilapia cook on each side for 4 minutes. This left it with a golden brown crust and a flakey, moist texture. 

Finally it was time to put my tacos together! Inside each lettuce cup, I laid down a piece of roasted radicchio, a spoonful of my (already cooled) homemade pico de gallo, some finely chopped green apple for a tangy demention to the dish, a piece of tilapia, and an orange slice. I topped this with some extra lime juice, a drizzle sauce that had been created when cooking the fish, and some freshly chopped parsley! 

Each bite of the taco was complex and interesting! There were so many different flavors in the dish that played off of each other nicely. It was well balanced and full of flavor! 

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