Winging it – cooking without a net

I am one of those people who makes a meal plan for the week, then plans the grocery list accordingly. Is that because I’m a type-A personality? Nope – it’s because I got tired of not having all of the ingredients to make something for dinner. And I’m not perfect – this week I bought tilapia filets in an attempt to get us eating more fish, but I didn’t really have a plan for them. Normally I’d grill them, but we’ve got a burn ban going on here in Texas, due to the drought, so no grill for me.

How hard can it be, though? I’ve got cookbooks galore, and the web at my fingertips. I looked up a few recipes, but didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand. I decided on a Pan-seared tilapia recipe with citrus vinaigrette, because it was the closest recipe for me to “adapt”. I didn’t stray too far off of the path with this tilapia recipe, but it called for orange juice – which we didn’t have – so I subbed the same amount of Gran Marnier. It’s orange-flavored, right? I didn’t have any white wine open, so I used cooking sake. And in place of sherry vinegar I just used white vinegar. On the whole, the fish was great – flaky and moist – and the vinaigrette was tangy and delicious.

I also brazenly cooked up some bulghur that I bought on a whim – again, one of those “we should eat more grains” kinds of thoughts. The bulghur was one of the 10-minute kinds, and I mixed in some chopped prosciutto and some parmesan, and yum! It was all a bit risky, but hey… there’s always pizza delivery if things go horribly wrong.

Pan-Seared Tilapia with Citrus Vinaigrette
(Adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 2

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 cup cooking sake or white wine
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Gran Marnier or fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add fillets to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; keep warm.
In a small bowl, combine onions and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Add in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Add sake to pan; cook 30 seconds or until liquid almost evaporates.  Add onion mixture to pan; sauté 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Place 1 fillet on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons sauce.

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This entry was published on October 14, 2011 at 10:57 am. It’s filed under Food and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Winging it – cooking without a net

  1. This looks so delicious right now…yum yum…lol

  2. Excellent recipe today thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading today’s post.

    Check out this healthy recipe – Cheese Topped Vegetables

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