; Supermarket Serenade: November 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tasty Buttermilk Tilapia Toes

You read it right. I said Tilapia toes. Why is it that it is perfectly acceptable to say chicken fingers...fish fingers...lady fingers? What about toes? Is the word toes that unappealing? Perhaps.

Call them what you would like, but today I've prepared some tasty morsels of the trendiest fish in supermarkets these days: Tilapia. Tilapia are fish from the Cichlidae family found typically in fresh water ponds, lakes and streams and in the supermarket can usually be found fresh in the fish market area or frozen in the freezer section.

Tilapia's flavor is quite mild making it an appealing choice to families with children. I dare say even the staunchest fish stick hater (I happen to be one of them) will not mind the almost poultry-like flavor of Tilapia. I suppose it is very cliche to say "it tastes like chicken", but it almost does taste like a very tender chicken. The mild flavor makes Tilapia a perfect ingredient for so many dinner recipes...tacos, sandwiches, stews or one of my favorites-"Tilapi-joes".

Today I've marinated the fish in a mixture of buttermilk and hot sauce, cut them into bite-sized pieces and coated with fresh bread crumbs. The bites or "toes" are then fried in a bit of butter and oil and served with your favorite ranch dressing. They're Toe-riffic...sorry I couldn't resist!

Tasty Buttermilk Tilapia Toes

4 Tilapia fillets, thawed if frozen, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
2-3 small whole grain rolls (I used Pepperidge Farms Hearth Baked 7 Grain Rolls)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place thawed Tilapia fillets in a shallow dish. Whisk together the buttermilk and the hot sauce; pour over the fillets. Let Tilapia marinate for 15-20 minutes.
In a small food processor, combine the rolls, red pepper flakes and salt; process until fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a plate. Take one piece of the Tilapia from the marinade and coat with the bread crumbs. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Heat the butter and oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add Tilapia pieces and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown outside and flaky tender inside. Drain Tilapia pieces on paper towels. Serve immediately with your favorite ranch dressing to dip.