Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tilapia wth tarragon butter and Swiss chard

I have this little addiction to cooking magazines.
It's been a problem for years.
What I do is I look through them, tearing out recipes that look interesting to me.
I have accumulated quite a collection of torn out magazine pages over the years.

To organize these, I have several three-ring binders for various categories: appetizers, side dishes, entrees, pastas, desserts... just to name a few.
Then I put the magazine page into a clear page protector and put it in the binder.
Basically, my own customized cookbooks.

The problem is sometimes I forget about these binders for months at a time.
Then I go back to them and pull out a few things I want to finally give a try.

I did this recently, and this is one of the recipes that sounded good to try.
I served this with a simple rice pilaf on the side.

I am not sure when or where I found this recipe originally. But it has tilapia, which is an easy fish to cook, and chard. I like chard. It's a little bolder than sauteed spinach. It's got a little more flavor and bulk to it. If you don't like chard, spinach would work, too.

Plus with a sauce that includes tarragon and shallots and lemon juice...? Yeah. Sold!

Seems like lately I have been very into things with sauces. The little pan sauces that are not difficult to make, but can make a dish taste so complete.


Tilapia with tarragon butter and Swiss chard
Serves 2

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound Swiss chard
(cleaned, fibrous stems removed and ribs discarded, leaves coarsely torn or chopped, washed and dried. **See note below about cleaning greens like this**)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons butter
2 tilapia fillets, about 6 ounces each
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped

Before you do anything else, make sure the chard is cleaned and dried and ready to go.

Also, once you start this, it all goes very fast. So you will want to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go in the pan before you start cooking.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat.
Add garlic and cook about 30-45 seconds, until fragrant, but not browned.
Add a large handful of chard and cook, tossing often.
Once this settles, add more chard and continue cooking and adding until it is all in the pan and cooked until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide chard onto two dinner plates and cover with foil to keep warm. Set aside.

Wipe out the skillet to remove any excess liquid.
Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and let it melt over medium-high heat.
Season fish with salt and pepper, and place it in the skillet to cook.
Cook fish until golden brown and cooked through, turning once.
It will take about 4-6 minutes of total cooking time.
Remove fish from the pan, placing it on top of the chard. Cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet, add the shallot and cook about 30-60 seconds, stirring occasionally.
When shallots are just starting to brown and soften, add lemon juice.
It should evaporate pretty fast, if not cook until nearly evaporated, maybe 30 seconds.
Remove pan from heat and add the remaining butter and the tarragon.
Stir constantly until the butter melts and makes a sauce.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour sauce over the fish and chard and serve.
**I wash chard like I do spinach or pretty much any other greens... Oh yeah, works great for leeks, too.
Once you have it torn or cut into the pieces you want to cook, put the greens in a large bowl or basin, cover with cold water and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
Any sand or grit will settle to the bottom of the bowl and the greens will float to the top.
Use a slotted spoon or your hands to gently scoop the greens off the top of the water.
Place in a colander and rinse one more time.
To dry these, a salad spinner works great, or just let them air dry.**

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