Almond-Crusted Tilapia (Not-so-Simple)

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Kateryna Odyntsova

STRATEGY SESSION:  In addition to being a sustainable fish, tilapia is super-lean protein- low in fat and calories. That leaves room for some healthy fats from almonds, which add both flavor and texture. Since it doesn’t contribute much in the way of its own flavor, it needs help- supplied in this recipe by olive oil, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. The glycemic load of the dish is extremely low.
As you may have read in my recent columns, Trufflehead presents certain recipe pairs that I have dubbed doppelgängers. This recipe, taken from that series, is the ever-so-slightly more complex version of- you guessed it- Almond-Crusted Tilapia (Simple). Young and/or inexperienced cooks don’t always (or, in some cases, ever) have fresh herbs and seasonings on hand, and anyone who wants to help them move up the food chain has to meet them where they are. That particular place is the land of (oh dear!) dried parsley, to which Old Bay seasoning, salt, and (we hope) freshly ground black pepper are added. The fish is dusted with ground almonds and given a quick turn in a skillet. If you ‘ve got ground almonds, it can be ready in about 15 minutes.
This version takes the cook from dried parsley to fresh. Minced garlic replaces Old Bay seasoning, and grated lemon zest gives it some zip. Instead of ordinary almonds, Spanish Marcona  almonds are used for their interesting flavor and crunchier texture.  The dry heat of the oven (in contast to the steamy heat of a skillet) keeps the nuts a bit more crisp. It takes a few minutes longer. However, even with these changes, it’s still pretty simple stuff. Simple, but good.
Serving suggestions: This dish needs something assertive on the side, preferably with a tasty sauce.  Chickpeas with a Smoky Pipérade.

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  • January 14 2011, 12:08 AM
    The Healthy Apple

    Love this recipe…this looks amazing, Deborah…great job; I think I’m going to create this for my family tomorrow night! Thank you for sharing another beautiful recipe with beautiful, clean, healthy food…just the way I like it. Keep up the great work and have a wonderful night!

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