Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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May 9, 2011

Walnut-Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Wine Sauce

Libations used: 1/2 cup white wine
Libations left over: pretty much the whole bottle, so serve with dinner
It's almost beach season in SoCal, and after spending a couple of hours in the sand and staring at the ocean, I was ready for a fish dinner.  I was craving something fried, but after imbibing at an epic Kentucky Derby party on Saturday, I really needed to be eating a tad healthier.  This walnut-crusted fish recipe from Bite Me, a cheeky recipe book I got in a gift bag, provided a nice middle-ground - plus, it calls for white wine in the sauce...The original recipe calls for halibut, but you can use pretty much any white fish you like.  I also cut it down to 3 servings instead of 6 - hello, leftovers!  The dill and lemon flavors make this a perfect and quick fish dish for spring.  I served this with purple asparagus that I bought at the farmer's market this morning.

Walnut-Crusted Tilapia with Lemon Wine Sauce - serves 3
  • 3 tilapia fillets, with skins removed
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
Walnut Crust Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbs melted butter
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • olive oil
Lemon Wine Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbs finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay)
  • 1 Tbs fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with a non-stick spray or some vegetable shortening.
- Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Place on prepared sheet about 1/2 inch apart.

To make the crust:
- In a medium bowl, combine panko, walnuts and parmesan.
- Mix in melted butter, horseradish, Dijon mustard, parsley, dill and lemon zest to form a crumbly mixture.
- Sprinkle panko mixture on top of fish and press gently with a spoon to adhere.
- Drizzle some olive oil on top of fish and bake until cooked through (about 12-15 minutes).

To make the sauce:
- In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add shallots and stir for a couple of minutes, until slightly softened.
- Turn heat to high and add white wine and lemon juice.
- Boil until liquid is reduced (about 4-6 minutes).
- Reduce heat to low and stir in butter until melted.
- Remove from heat and add fresh dill.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle sauce over the fish, or you can even serve on the side to dip it in.