Tonight, I had no idea what I wanted to cook. I’ve been craving salpicón but felt like the cold weather demanded a stick-to-your-ribs dinner situation.
In that same line of thought, I remembered when I made pot au feu a few years ago. The photo below is from when I first started teaching myself food photography in my tiny NYC apartment; I can’t believe it’s been eight years already!
Pot au feu–which means pot on the fire–is France’s national dish made by simmering meat and vegetables. It’s typically served in two courses, the first course being the broth and the second course being the meat and vegetables.
I got home from grocery shopping at three o’clock and almost thought about rushing through pot au feu and eating a very late dinner. But I remembered how divine the tuccu was since I let it simmer for over twelve hours. I thought this dish deserved the same chance. As a public Crockpot naysayer, I must eat crow because I am going to pop everything in the slow cooker tonight and let it go all night.
I still needed to think of something for dinner. While I absolutely love my fish salpicón recipe, it’s definitely something I prefer to eat in the warmer weather.
I decided I would break out my frozen tilapia and prepare it the same way as I do the fish for the salpicon: dusted with Wondra and pan-fried. I also had a bag of gigante beans. At our Christmas Eve dinner, I made lemon-basil stewed gigante beans, so I thought that would pair nicely with the tilapia.
You don’t need many ingredients for the beans. Here’s what I used:
- Dry gigante beans
- Bay leaves
- Chicken broth
- Parmesan cheese
Making it is really easy. I was a little tight on time, so soaking the beans wasn’t an option. Instead, I just threw them in a pot with two bay leaves and covered them with 5 or 6 cups of water. From there, I just brought everything to a boil and simmered for two or so hours. Once the beans were almost tender, I drained the beans and discarded the bay leaves.
In the same pot, I fried a diced shallot and minced garlic in olive oil, added the cooked beans with plenty of salt, and three cups of chicken broth. I continued to simmer, uncovered, until the liquid was reduced by about half, and the beans started to break down. Once the beans became nice and thick, I threw in a ton of finely grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and a handful of torn basil leaves.
For the fish, I followed the same method as my salpicón recipe. I did season the Wondra with Italian seasoning since I thought it would pair nicely with the beans.
I patted the fish dry, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and coated them in Wondra. From there, I just fried them in olive oil until golden brown.
It really is an exceptional way to make tilapia. It’s just a little crispy; not overly breaded or decadent. The Italian seasoning added a really nice flavor to the fish as well.
Plating it up
I do think this dish would benefit from a vegetable. When I make it again, I will serve it with sautéed spinach or roasted broccolini. For tonight, I just spooned the beans into shallow bowls and placed a tilapia filet on top. I finished with basil leaves, more Parmesan, and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper for a little color.
All in all, it was really fantastic. I look forward to testing the recipe again so that I can share it with you.
I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to make for my girlfriend and her boyfriend tomorrow. We’re committing to the fire omelet for sure. I want to do toasts, but I don’t want to be overly complicated about it.
I’m thinking I’ll do orange-scented whipped ricotta for one of the toasts. For the other, I may keep it simple and do French-style scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms. We’ll have one sweet toast and one that is more savory.
For now, I’m going to go start my pot au feu, and hopefully, my Crockpot will pull through and wake me up with an amazing aroma tomorrow.
That’s all! Happy Sunday everyone!