26 April 2010

Tilaipa with Couscous and Salad

I made something extremely simple, very healthy and really good the other night: pan fried tilapia, a green salad and couscous cooked partly in white wine. The meal took no more than 15 minutes from start to finish, which makes it perfect for a mid-week dinner after work.

Pan Fried Tilapia with White Wine Couscous and Salad

4 tilapia fillets, skin off
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup couscous
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon
1/2 cucumber
2 tomatoes
olive oil

Start by mixing the flour and about a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper on a flat plate. Wash and dry the fish fillets, then dip them in the flour. Shake off the excess flour. In the meantime, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large sautee pan over medium heat. Fry the fish, about 2 minutes per side or until they begin to brown.

Bring the water and wine to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, add about half a teaspoon of salt and about two teaspoons of olive oil, then the couscous. Stir, cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Leave for five minutes, then stir with a fork.

Cut up the ingredients for the salad - I picked a simple one (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes), but add whatever vegetables you feel like. Mix with your favorite dressing.

Plate the fish, top with a couple of wedges of the lemon. Add the couscous and salad. Serve with some fresh bread and a glass of white wine.

06 April 2010

Pizza - again!

I know this is the fourth post about pizza, but...just look at it! The last pizza recipe I posted was Alton Brown's, and while it's good, it's not as good as this. I wrote about Peter Reinhart's ciabatta recipe relatively recently, and this recipe is based on the same technique but has slightly different ingredients. Look at that crumb! It's absolutely divine.


24 oz unbleached bread flour (roughly 5 1/3 cups)
1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
2 cups plus 2 tbsp water at room temperature
2 tbsp olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed for one minute (with the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer or with a wooden spoon if mixing by hand). Let stand for five minutes. Switch to the dough hook and mix another three minutes on medium-low speed (or mix by hand if not using stand mixer).

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface. Stretch and fold the dough once, as described in the ciabatta recipe linked above. Tuck the dough into a ball, then divide into four pieces. Form each piece into a ball, then place into a separate sandwich-sized freezer bag misted with spray oil. Refrigerate overnight (or up to four days) or freeze for up to several months. If you do freeze, remove to fridge the night before baking the pizza, then follow the rest of the recipe below.

About 90 minutes before you plan to bake the pizza, remove the dough from the fridge. Stretch each piece of dough and make it into a ball, then place on a lightly oiled surface, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rest until ready to bake. An hour before baking, place a baking stone in the lower part of the oven and turn the oven to the highest temperature it will go (usually 500 or 550 degrees F).

When ready to bake, dust the work area and each piece of dough with flour. If using a pizza peel, dust it as well (if not, the back of a sheet pan will work fine as well). Place one piece of dough on the work area, then press on the top to form a disc. Lift it and gently pull on the edges, rotating as you go, until the middle is very thin and you have a thicker edge. Place on the pizza peel and rest for 10 minutes.

Top the pizza as desired (the above photo was tomato sauce, fresh oregano and mozzarella cheese), then slide onto the baking stone and bake for about 4 minutes. Open the oven and turn the pizza, then bake another 3-7 minutes, or until crust is fully baked and cheese is browned. Remove from the oven and let cool at least a couple of minutes before slicing and serving.