New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Fish + pesto?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Am I correct that the pesto is added at the very end of the baking time?

 

What spice(s) work particularly well with pesto and which work particularly unwell?

 

Mark

post #2 of 19

Could you perhaps supply some context and be a little more specific about what you're trying to make?  What you want it to look like?  Taste like?  Any ingredients you've already settled on?  At this point your question is about as meaningful as "What should I wear with these socks?"

 

Not sandals,

BDL

 

 

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

The fish would be a thin fillet such as Tilapia since salmon or whole trout (so far, and will be adding more through time) goes on the grill. If there were an alternative way to encourage a light 'crunch' periodically apart from bread crumbs that would be great but not necessary. So for the times that a mild, thin fillet goes in the oven, different and distinct tastes along with an interesting (appealing) 'top' vs a white slab flecked with some herbs sounds good. I picked up the bottle of pesto while at Costco yesterday thinking I like fish and I like pesto so...

 

I'm interested in trying any manner of herb and addtitive combinations plus differing baking methods to round out the baked fish alternatives.

 

How's that?

 

Mark

post #4 of 19

don't worry mark, sometimes the old timers, well, sometimes they're just grumpy and impatient...yes to pesto and fish...you just can't turn it over with the pesto on it, as it will stick. i'm not sure i would even waste my time with heating the oven for tilapia..it just takes such a short time stovetop...you could add a bit of polenta for a subtle crunch texture. if you're grilling talapia i would make a foil packet...super easy and virtually no clean up....as an aside, there are endless pestos to try...arugula, sundried tomato, mint, herb, mushroom, to name a few.....endless...

joey


Edited by durangojo - 7/13/11 at 10:25am

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

I didn't know about polenta and looked it up. It looks like a paste sort of stuff. Can you buy it in the grocery store already made and would you spread it on top of the fish after the seasoning but at the beginning of the oven bake vs the end with the pesto? Am I correct that the pesto goes on the top, one side, a couple of minutes before the fish is ready to be removed from the oven? Any fish similar to the Tilapia would not go on the grill since wrapping in foil, IMO, defeats the purpose of the grill.

post #6 of 19

mark,

 sorry i don't have the time right now to answer your questions, but will try to hit some points...polenta is simply cornmeal aka grits..you use it as a dredge alone or mixed with flour, when you panfry something.well, i also roll my pizza dough in it, but that's another subject. if you are baking your fish, you can put the pesto on beforehand as the fish will absorb the flavors as it sits and gets baked into. for thicker fish on the grill try mahi or california sea bass. halibut and swordfish are great but pricey. not for experimentation. still think you will not have any luck with tilapia on the grill 'a la nude', as it will most likely fall apart on you and just make a big mess.if you're bound and determined to grill talapia, put it in foil....it doesn't defeat the purpose at all. fastest way to cook talapia with crunch is in a hot pan..pan fried....cajun seasoning, or seafood seasoning, rolled in polenta or not ...pan's gotta be hot....gotta go for now...good luck!

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply
post #7 of 19

I notice you bought pesto in a bottle...aarrgghhh, while it's so easy to make it yourself. The most regular recipe contains fresh basil leaves, fresh garlic clove, freshly grated parmezan cheese or pecorino, slightly dry-roasted pine nuts, s&p, maybe lemonjuice and of course a very generous dash of good olive oil. Mix or put in a mortar and turn into a rough paste.

 

But, think outside the box and be creative. You mention fish, so what would you add yourself to enhance/complement the flavour of fish like (somewhat bland) tilapia as you mention?

I immediately think lemonjuice, parcely, tarragon, chervil, chives, cilantro, ruccola, shallot, roasted almonds...

So why not make your own pesto fit for this dish? Just pulse in your mixer; a handful of ruccola and some parcely, a little tarragon and chervil, 1/2 clove of garlic, half a shallot very finely diced first, a little parmezan and a handful of dry-roasted almond slices and olive oil. Tweak with lemonjuice, s&p to taste. Done.

Panfry your flour-dusted fillets shortly in very hot sunflower oil, remove from the pan and put some pesto on top of the fillets and serve.

 

Another option would have been Maroccan chermoula, also kind of a pesto but with spices added. Very nice served with fish.

 

Or, ultimately and extremely delicious; pulse in your mixer; good handful of stale bread or panko, a handful of gouda or cheddar cheese, s&p, a handful of chervil(yummm!)  or parcely or whatever soft herb you like, mustardseeds if available and last some butter instead of olive oil. Pulse into a rough consistency somewhat between a crumble and a paste. Take an oventray, cover with baking paper, put your fillets on, season, cover the top of the fish entirely and generously thick with this mixture. Put in a very hot oven until the mixture gets golden brown. It's important to preheat the oven to a high 200°C or just above 400°F. You can use any kind of thin, skinned white fish fillets.

Enjoy! 

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Chris--excellent thoughts! I'm inspired and will try and will get back later.

 

Thanks

post #9 of 19

I suggest staying away from cheese and most fish, very much including tilapia.  Cheese -- even in pesto -- and fish don't usually play well together.  There are exceptions, but this isn't one of them. 

 

A parsley / walnut pesto with either shallot or garlic would do better with a mild fish than the traditional basil / cheese / pine nut / garlic pesto.

 

The basic rule for cooking proteins is that the thinner they are the higher the heat and the quicker the cook.  Dredge your fillets lightly in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, smoked-paprika), cornstarch (or some sort of cornmeal ala Joey), shake off the excess dredge, and cook them quickly in a very hot pan with a minimum of oil.  From a technical standpoint your choice of dredging starch won't make much difference, you just want something that will hold the fish together and lend a touch of color.  Of the things I've discussed, cornmeal will add the most texture, corn starch the least.

 

Start by preheating the pan, dry.  When it's hot add a little oil.  When that's shimmering, add dredged, seasoned fish.  Cook the presentation side first. It should take about 2 minutes on the first side, and 1 one on the second.  You want to catch the fish just after it's firm to touch, but (ideally) before it starts flaking and drying.  Don't be afraid to touch it in the pan to check for doneness. 

 

After they're cooked, dress the fillets with the pesto by drawing a line with it across the top, or with a "spoon push" across the plate.   Garnish with lemon "butterflies."

 

Because it's so delicate and dries so quickly, tilapia is not a great baker.  For a lot of wrong reasons, people think baked fish is healthier than pan grilling.  If you do it right, you won't put much oil in the fish from the pan -- certainly far less than the oil from pesto. 

 

By and large you don't want to bake pesto because it cooks the herbal freshness right out of it.  And, if you do that, what's the point. 

 

On the other hand, if you want cooked herbs... saute some garlic in butter.  When the garlic is fragrant, deglaze with white wine, add a lot of parsley, and when the parsley wilts, squeeze some lemon into it.  Good with just about anything.  Parsley / garlic / butter is a classic in a gazillion cuisines.  Classic for a reason.

 

Who's grumpy now?

 

BDL

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

So much for plan A. I'm eating your recipe this evening!

 

I appreciate the time you took for the careful instructions.

 

Mark

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

BDL-- Delicious, easy and (you're correct) comparatively little oil. Thanks again--

 

Mark

post #12 of 19

fish 101, thanks professor...do have to disagree on some level about fish and cheese...as a rule, i don't use cheese as part of a recipe but do sprinkle on afterwards as for a parmesan  or francaise style fish dish and anything with capers. i prefer dry rubs over marinating, but i do use diluted pestos to baste fish on the grill..of course not all contain cheese...cilantro, chimichurri, asian(my personal favorite), mint,mixed herb/roasted garlic...of course there is always the classic mornay sauce...classic for a reason i suppose...

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply
post #13 of 19

Ruby Tuesday was serving a Tilapia with basil pesto sauce and bruschetta.  My impressions were not good. 

post #14 of 19

BDL

, I have to agree with you  re. cheese and fish. They realy don't help one another   Mac and cheese with Lobster is exception, but that is shellfish.  Parsley /Walnut best way to go.  Tilepia or St Peter Fish usually very small & thin  filets and realy to small to bake. They tend to dry out. Fast cooking is better.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #15 of 19

Mark, just to reiterate the point about pan frying v baking.

 

The general rule of thumb with fish is to cook it ten minutes per inch at the thickest point. Now think about the thinness of those tilapia filets. There is no point in heating the oven for anything that small.

 

As to mixing cheese and fish, despite the "rule" (which is mostly an Italian thing, anyway) I often mix parmesan with the breading mix and have never had anyone object to the taste.

 

I think you need to be aware of such culinary conventions. But don't be afraid to experiment as well, developing your own ideas of what does and does not work.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #16 of 19

You can perfectly bake thin fish in your oven the way I suggested without drying it out!

In my previous post I said; "Take an oventray, cover with baking paper, put your fillets on, season, cover the top of the fish entirely and generously thick with this mixture. Put in a very hot oven until the mixture gets golden brown. It's important to preheat the oven to a high 200°C or just above 400°F. You can use any kind of thin, skinned white fish fillets."

 

I should have added this is the raw fillet that goes in a very hot oven... for maybe 5 minutes. The crust with included butter protects from the high heat and gets golden brown in a few minutes.

Just try and see for yourself. Sometimes stepping aside from the very obvious helps, that's why there are creative cooks and uninspired ones...

Uninspired as in going by "the rules" and certainly stick to conservative cooking and produce the same thing over and over and over again. And let's hide behind the fact that we know our classics so we don't need to go creative!

 

Tilapia and cheese don't work? Yeah right, according to who?

In my personal opinion oily fish and cheese don't work. Probably just me?

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post

Ruby Tuesday was serving a Tilapia with basil pesto sauce and bruschetta.  My impressions were not good. 


come on, ruby tuesday?

joey

 

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply
post #18 of 19

Ruby Tuesday here in Florida has a decent salad bar and thats it.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

Am I missing the obvious or is there not a way to tell the entire thread to regenerate in a printer friendly format?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking