Saturday, May 1, 2010

Take the Edge Off with Tilapia w/ Butter Sauce

I think the plan from now on will be to throw something at you each weekend that has the potential to make you a little bit happier. I figure the things that work for a grouchy bastard like me should probably work for almost everybody else, and if not then oh well there's always next weekend.

This week's happy distraction comes in the form of my favorite of all distractions: food. I'm one of those people who will eat when he's mad, or when he's sad, or when he's bored, or when he's celebrating....OK basically the point here is that I eat a lot. But with my upcoming nuptials, I would like to make sure I can get into my penguin suit without actually being in the shape of a penguin. So I'm always on the lookout for recipes that aren't too fattening but that also don't taste like something you'd find on the bottom of a shoe. Yahoo! Food has a pretty extensive recipe list from all different sources so I'll usually start there, and they came through for me again with tasty recipe for tilapia with almond butter sauce.

Here's the recipe, courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens:


  • 3 cups snow pea pods, trimmed
  • 4 4- to 5-ounce fresh skinless tilapia fillets or other white fish
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


  1. In a large saucepan bring lightly salted water to boiling. Add pea pods. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season fish with salt and pepper; sprinkle with flour. Cook fish in hot oil for 4 to 5 minutes or until it is easy to remove with a spatula. (If necessary, cook fish half at a time.) Gently turn fish and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Place peas on serving plates; arrange fish on top of peas.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add butter to skillet. When butter begins to melt, stir in almonds. Cook for 30 to 60 seconds or until nuts are lightly toasted (do not let butter burn). Spoon butter mixture over fish fillets.
  4. Makes 4 servings

I think one of my favorite things about this recipe is that it's so damn easy. Anyone who can boil water can make the peas and in my experience fish is pretty hard to overcook. The only potentially tricky part is the almond butter sauce because as the directions say you don't want to burn the butter. The trick there is to use a the smallest pan that you have so that the butter melts quickly without burning, and to really keep an eye on the almonds so that you can get them off as soon as they're ready. Other than that, this is a really simple meal that you can cook and seem like you really know your shit in the kitchen.

Plus, tilapia makes for a very mild-tasting fish so you don't have to worry about whether it will be too strong for people who don't like seafood. I suggest buying Roasted Garlic Caesar-flavored Almond Accents brand of sliced almonds. I admittedly got lucky when I picked these up because I was just guessing as to what would be a good choice, but these things really do add a nice bit of extra flavor to the meal.

Now, yes, I do realize that I could probably do better than a recipe with melted butter, flour, and almonds when looking for a low-calorie meal. But keep in mind that I once learned a way to "enhance" my snacking experience with 3-D Doritos (remember those?) by biting off a corner and filling it up with spray cheese from a can. The simple fact that a) I haven't already had a triple bypass surgery and b) I'm at least looking for things that are low-calorie is a pretty big accomplishment. And I can guarantee that if my fat ass enjoys the flavor then you'll probably enjoy it as well. So give it a try, and let me know in the comments how you liked it if you do.

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