Here's how you can take some of the best of the Orient and make your fish zing with flavor. Give this dish an Asian flair with some ginger, Nori, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame seeds for starters; and serve your tilapia with these accompaniments in a new way.
Ingredients (cabbage slaw):
1 cup thick-shredded green cabbage*
1 cup thick-shredded red cabbage*
1 medium carrot* (julienned in matchstick cuts - you can use a mandoline, food processor, or cheat like I did and buy the pre-cut kind :) )
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* - The above trio also comes in a bag, pre-cut. If you can't find it, you can also use a mandoline or food processor to shred the cabbage to a thick shred. If you can't find both kinds of cabbage, feel free to use all green or all red - your slaw will just be a little less colorful, but the substitutions won't affect the flavor.
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3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce (you can substitute light soy sauce if you prefer)
1 lemon, squeezed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 or 1 Granny Smith apple (julienned in matchstick cuts - you can use a mandoline, food processor, or take your time with a knife)**
1" or 2" piece of skinned, fresh ginger, grated***
1. Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare everything else.
** - If you are like me, you will wonder what to do with a leftover 1/2 of an apple. If you decide to put an entire apple, julienned, into this slaw, it will be perfectly fine. The choice is yours.
*** - This slaw has a distinct tartness and Asian flavor. If you are serving this to kids, or want to tone down the spice, I suggest using a 1" piece of grated ginger. If you want to give it more kick, tune it up to 2".
I presented the slaw first, because you can make this up to a day in advance of serving it, to cut down on prep-time.
Ingredients (mashed parsnips & asparagus - you can also substitute mashed potatoes instead of mashed parsnips):
Quart saucepan of boiling, well-salted water
3 large parsnips (or 6 small ones), cut into 1/4 inch rings (or 3 large potatoes, peeled, diced)
1 cup asparagus (24 baby asparagus spears or 12 larger ones) - ends trimmed, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves (peeled, whole)
1/2 cup milk (Chef Jeff recommends 1% but I went with whole milk and it works just fine)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1. Add cut parsnips and garlic to the boiling water for 10 minutes. (If using potatoes, place diced potatoes and garlic in cold water, bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes.)
2. After 10 minutes, (or 15 minutes if using diced potatoes) add the cut asparagus and boil for 5 more minutes. (It's important not to boil the asparagus for more than 5 minutes or it will become mushy. Mushy = yuck!)
3. Drain everything in a colander.
4. Using the same pot, add the butter, salt, and milk over low heat so the butter melts. Turn off the heat.
5. Once combined and the butter is melted, add the parsnips (or potatoes) and garlic. DO NOT ADD THE ASPARAGUS! Place the asparagus to the side.
6. Mash the parsnips (or potatoes) to a smooth consistency.
7. Add the asparagus. Mix well. Set aside, covered.
Ingredients (Nori-Encrusted Tilapia):
2 full sheets of Nori
4 tilapia filets
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 medium shallot
1 garlic clove (minced, or use garlic press)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. butter
1. Using kitchen shears, cut the Nori sheets into small pieces.
2. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle (or even your fingers!), crumble the Nori bits into a very rough powder/piece mixture.
3. Heat a small frying pan with no oil (dry) on medium-low heat. Add the sesame seeds and Nori.
4. Stir the sesame seeds and Nori constantly until you smell the seeds roasting. This will take about 2 - 3 minutes. It's very important you don't burn the seeds! Once you smell the seeds roasting, remove the mixture from the pan and set it aside in a bowl.
5. Using the same frying pan, increase the heat to medium, add the butter. One the butter is melted, add the garlic, shallots, and paprika. Stir and saute for about 2 minutes.
6. Add the Nori-sesame mixture back into the frying pan. Add 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and juice of one lemon.
7. Stir and cook 1 more minute until everything is combined. Take the pan off of the hat and set this aside.
8. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or rub some olive oil on it.
9. Place 4 tilapia filets on the baking sheet after lightly salt-and-peppering both sides of each.
10. Spoon an equal amount of the Nori-sesame mixture on each piece of tilapia. Spread it out evenly and thinly on each filet.
11. Set your oven to broil on HIGH. Once your oven reaches broil temperature, place the tilapia on the top oven rack for 7 - 8 minutes. (If you've got Chef Jeff's hyper oven, this could take more like 6 minutes. In The Lady in Red's oven, it took 8 minutes. Watch your fish.)
12. Here's the exciting part! Place a scoop of the parsnip (or potato) mash in the center of the plate (about 1/4 cup per person). Flatten it down a little. Put 1 filet on top of the mash. Add a scoop of slaw on the side (about 1/4 cup per person). Optional: Add sliced lemons to garnish each plate.
Nutritional Information per serving:
Carbs: 9 g
Sodium: 124 mg
Sugar: 5 g
Vit A: 95% (of daily)
Vit C: 26% (of daily)
Calcium: 2% (of daily)
Fiber: 2 g
Garlic Mashed Parsnips
Fat: 5 g
Carbs: 6 g
Protein: 1 g
Sodium: 6 mg
Sugar: 2 g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Vit A: 9% (of daily)
Vit C: 11% (of daily)
Calcium: 2% (of daily)
Iron: 4% (of daily)
Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 13 g
Carbs: 2 g
Protein: 28 g
Sodium: 130 mg
Potassium: 38 mg
Cholesterol: 63 mg
Vit A: 5% (of daily)
Vit C: 8% (of daily)
Calcium: 11% (of daily)
Iron: 11% (of daily)
Fiber: 1 g
Entire Recipe as a Meal
Fat: 18 g
Carbs: 17 g
Protein: 29 g
Sodium: 260 g
Sugar: 7 g
Potassium: 38 mg
Cholesterol: 69 mg
Vit A: 109% (of daily)
Vit C: 45% (of daily)
Calcium: 15% (of daily)
Iron: 15% (of daily)
Fiber: 5 g
*NOTE: These figures are only estimates. They are provided as-is and may be inaccurate depending on individual ingredient choices and measurements. This should be used only as a general assessment. This is not intended to diagnose or treat any ailment or deficiency, but to provide an estimated nutritional profile. The term (“of daily”) is based on a 2000 calorie diet.