Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inspiration ...

A couple of weeks ago, one of my favorite blogs - The Duo Dishes - set off an interesting discussion with their post on adapting recipes. You can read part one of it here ... and take a look at that yummy shrimp and noodle dish while you're at it. ~swoon~ In part two, they not only offered what looks to be an amazing recipe, they gave a wonderful, link-y, description of how that dish came to be. It was a pleasure to read and I couldn't agree more with their declaration that "recipes are meant to be adopted and then adapted!"

In that same vein, my inspiration for today's recipe comes from one of my dearest friends, the lovely and talented Becky. In true Divalicious fashion, Becky rarely follows a recipe to a "T". Just this morning we were discussing how we'll often simply glance at a recipe, to get a sense of it, then once we start cooking ... all bets are off and creativity takes over. By and large, I think this is a good thing and, for me, making a dish my own is part of the joy of cooking.

Recently, Becky hipped me to Giada De Laurentiis' recipe for Roasted Fish with Lima Beans, and suggested I might like to give it a try. While discussing it, she offered the idea of replacing the lima beans with shelled edamame and I was all over it! Naturally, I made some other changes ... the inspiration for which came from a wonderful Thai meal I had last week ... so now I've got my own chain of adaptation to present ... and a new recipe.

Baked Tilapia with Herbed Edamame:
  • 2/3 cup of frozen, shelled edamame
  • 3 tbsp. of minced shallots
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  • pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 6 tbsp. good quality white wine
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • pinch of Kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • zest of one lime, minced
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, cayenne pepper and a bit of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reserve.

In another bowl, combine the shelled edamame (its ok if they are still frozen), 2 tbsp. of the minced shallot, the olive oil, vinegar, parsley, mint, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Place two long sheets of aluminum foil on a large, rimmed, baking sheet. You will be forming packets in which to bake the fish. Place half of the herbed edamame on each sheet of foil and top each with a fillet of tilapia. Pour 3 tbsp. of the white wine over each fillet and dust with a bit of the reserved cumin mixture, to taste. Top each fillet with the reserved tablespoon of minced shallot and the lime zest in equal measure (as seen above). Fold the remaining foil up and over the fish to form a packet and seal tightly.

Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 20 -25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, carefully open the packets and remove the contents to a plate. Serve immediately with additional wedges of lime for sprinkling over the fish at table and enjoy!

As written, this recipe will serve two but can easily be doubled as necessary. I hope you'll try it!

By now you're probably wondering if - a.) I only eat tilapia, and - b.) if my sole method of cooking fish is in foil packets? The answer is no, on both counts. I tend to prefer tilapia, because its mild, though I will eat some other varieties. As for the foil, its virtually fool-proof and you can't beat the clean-up! Fish baked in this way is remarkably moist, tender and delicious ... every time.

Feel free to adopt this recipe and apply it to the fish of your choice. Ditto for the sesonings. The ball's in your court now, take this recipe and make it your own!

So, where do you find culinary inspiration? Do you follow most recipes exactly, or are you a free-wheeler like Becky and me? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetit!


Tracy said...

Good for you Diva for eating more fish. In the Spring, fava beans would be yummy in this dish too (although much more work).

Anonymous said...

Great changes to this recipe! You're are one daring Diva, always flexing your creative muscle in the kitchen. Not only does this sound delicious, but it also seems quick and easy. Let's see who else picks up the ball and starts rolling!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Tracy - you're right about the fava, I was thinking the same thing. So yummy. Am trying to make friends with the sea creatures ... its an uphill battle! LOL

Duo - I hope someone will take up the challenge and let me know how it goes. Thanks for all of your inspiration too. You guys rock!

Dana McCauley said...

Looks like you have good kitchen instincts!

jesse said...

*gasp* That fish looks incredible!! This is the kind of diet I WANT to be on...!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Dana - Aw, I appreciate that. Thanks!

Jesse - Welcome and than you! You're right this is the kind of yummy diet we can all get behind. :)

pixelgal said...

I am a recipe follower mostly but since I've been reading this blog I have dared to branch out into uncharted territory with mostly good results. Who knows, maybe old dogs CAN learn new tricks after all.

Deb said...

If it's a nw recipe I will mostly follow it. BUT once I'm comfortable I will improvise away unless I just know some other spice or flavor would fit well ie nutmeg with green veggies or extra garlic.


Juliet said...

I've never really had tilapia. Looks great! I also don't trust myself to cook fish.. I'm impressed with your abilities! :)