Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Foodie Files

We've talked about my Dad's Most Interesting Man In The World-esque hobbies on many occasions (bee keeping, brick oven baking, chicken raising, vineyard operating, wine making and the list goes on) but today's Foodie File incorporates one of his most recent interests: aquaponics.  In case that doesn't mean a thing to you (and really, why would it?), allow me to explain.  Aquaculture is the raising of aquatic animals in tanks, hydroponics is the growing of plants in water (without soil)....put those hands together and you get aquaponics.  We've enjoyed many delicious vegetable offerings since his aquaponic greenhouse was built last summer, but the tilapia he's raising only recently reached the point where they can be eaten.  So!  For the farm to table meal of all farm to table meals, he and my Mom recently prepared the dish below.  While I didn't get to taste it (ah, the perils of living halfway across the country from your parents), they really loved how the flavors came together (and it certainly sounds amazing).  Though chances are you won't be preparing this dish using tilapia you raised in your backyard, I went ahead and wrote the recipe out in a way that accommodates using whole fish.  The thought of cleaning, scaling and deboning a fish may seem scary, but it's kind of a fun challenge- don't you think?  And bonus: whole fish are even much less expensive.  Just an idea to consider...might make a good New Years Resolution.  One last note (just cause I'm so ridiculously proud of him)- everything in this recipe except for the black olives, olive oil, salt and pepper came from my Dad's greenhouse.  Is he amazing or what?

4 tilapia, whole
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1/3 cup black olives
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large shallot, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 lime
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scale and clean tilapia thoroughly, remove the side fins and head, then make 2-3 small slashes in one side.  Salt and pepper tilapia inside and out.  Blanche broccoli rabe for 1-2 minutes, then mix with olives and half of your diced shallot.  

In a separate bowl, combine lime, olive oil, shallots, chopped peppers, parsley and wine.  Place Tilapia on top of broccoli rabe, then pour mix over the entire dish.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until flaky.  Debone as you eat (tips on how to do that here).


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