Wednesday, March 30, 2011

If You Like Piña Coladas…And Sustainable Fish


I was recently invited to join the Five Star Makeover cooking group. Every month, the group is challenged to create an original dish using specially chosen theme ingredients. It’ s a great opportunity to get the creative juices flowing in the kitchen; I am excited to be a part of it and to see what is in store for the coming months.



This month’s theme was sustainable fish. A smart topic, I thought, that would be as fun to work with as it is purposeful. Through this dish, not only did I become more aware of overfishing and the importance of opting for sustainable seafood, but now I can spread that knowledge to you.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, “Nearly 75% of the world's fisheries are fished to capacity, or overfished. Our seafood choices have the power to make this situation worse, or improve it.”

Various fishing methods worldwide put our oceans in peril by endangering fish populations, destroying their habitats, and polluting the water. By choosing to purchase sustainable seafood you no longer contribute to these harmful practices, helping to conserve diverse, healthy and long-lasting ocean ecosystems.

Of course, our personal efforts are only a small advance in a much larger movement. The restaurant and retail stores that sell seafood must be tuned in as well; many have begun, with major companies like Walmart, Whole Foods, and Costco vowing to sell only sustainable.

While I was familiar with the premise of sustainability, I found that when trying to think up a dish, I wasn’t exactly sure of what fish were most sustainable and where I would be most likely to find them. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website is a very helpful resource.

As part of their Seafood Watch program, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has developed a list of recommendations for the most sustainably conscious fish to buy in different regions of the United States. They’ve done careful research based on each fish species and the factors that affect them individually, rating as “best choice,” “good alternative,” and “avoid.”

Other than on their website, recommendations are also available in pocket guides and mobile apps.

Baked Cornflake-Crusted Tilapia with Piña Colada Sauce, & Pickled Mango and Pineapple Relish

I ended up picking U.S. farmed tilapia, which is one of the most widely available sustainable fish. The piña colada inspiration came from warm, tropical thoughts, and my fidgety anticipation of spring to finally get a move on.

I’ve wanted to cornflake-curst something for the longest, so here she is. The cornflakes don’t take away from the fish at all, especially since it is baked; they just add a nice crunchy consistency. I did not crush my flakes too much, but that was just my preference. For the accompaniments, tangy pineapple and mango relish offsets the sweetness from the sauce, and the simple coconut rice is great for sopping up all that is leftover. So delicious!

Baked Cornflake-Crusted Tilapia with Piña Colada Sauce, &
Pickled Mango and Pineapple Relish:
Yield: 4 Servings
For Tilapia:
- 4 tilapia fillets
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 egg
- 1 box cornflake cereal (use as much as needed; crush to desired consistency)
- ½ cup flour
- Salt and pepper
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Prepare breading procedure: lay out 3 separate vessels with flour seasoned with salt and pepper in one, egg whisked together with coconut milk in another, and cornflakes in another.
• For each tilapia fillet, bread with flour first, then coconut milk mixture, and then cornflakes. Lay on a sheet tray and bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the fish is white and flaky.
Piña Colada Sauce:
- ½ pineapple, cubed
- 6 oz pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 tablespoon coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon rum
- Slurry: (1:1 ratio) 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water whisked together
• In a food processor or blender, puree pineapple with pineapple juice; reserve.
• In a small sauce pot, heat butter and add shallots; cook until translucent. Add puree to cooked shallots, and then mix in coconut milk and rum. Bring to a boil.
• Strain the pineapple sauce through a sieve back into a small pot. Bring back to a boil and reduce to a simmer. To thicken, slowly whisk in slurry.
Pickled Manago and Pineapple Relish:
- ½ pineapple, small dice
- 2 mango, small dice - ¼ cup red onion, small dice
- 2 jalapeno, small dice
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
• In a small sauce pot, bring orange juice, sugar, and rice vinegar up to a boil.
• In the meantime, mix together all ingredients up to grated ginger in a medium bowl. Once the orange juice mixture has come to a boil, pour over. Add cilantro, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, or up to overnight.
To serve:
• Spoon sauce onto plate and place tilapia fillet over the top. Serve with the pickled pineapple and mango salsa on the side and coconut rice (recipe follows).
 
Coconut Rice:
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup rice
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
• In a small/medium pot, heat butter until melted. Add rice and stir until well-coated with butter. Add the coconut milk, broth, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until done.

19 comments:

Joy said...

That looks so good.

Alice said...

i love tilapia too, and yay for sustainable! it always makes me clench my jaw when i see people serving things like chilean sea bass...

Angie's Recipes said...

This looks delicious! I love the idea of pina colada sauce. Very special.

Lori Lynn said...

Great addition to the Cooking Club. I'm really liking that piña colada sauce - I can think of many uses for that!
LL

Roxan said...

What cute inspiration for the fish! Great job with this post. I've never made a cereal crusted fish before but I'd like to try. I'd use Puffins, my favorite favorite cereal.

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Great to have you in the group. Lovely bright flavors at work here.

Bravo

Karen said...

I love this idea! I've always wanted to try cornflakes as a crust, too. The pina colada spin is wonderful!
Great info about how to find which fish to buy...

5 Star Foodie said...

Welcome to the group, so nice to have you participating! Wonderful tropical flavors in this dish with the pina colada sauce and the pickled mango & pineapple relish. Also, love the idea of the crunchy crust with cornflakes.

Table Talk said...

Love the title of your post! (I think that song will be with me for the day--)
You have embraced this challenge, offering a great pitch for sustainability, as well as a tasty recipe!

lostpastremembered said...

I always think of using cornflakes... but never have any on hand...they are so wonderfully crisp and good and I think the pina colada sauce is genius. Who said sustainable is boring!

Jennifer-Adventuresome Kitchen said...

I'm a new convert to tilapia! I love the tropical flavors and the cornflakes! Many celiacs use cornflakes as an alternative breading, but I have yet to try it. I think I need to go buy a box-I love the flavors and textures you've created!

Kelly said...

Very fun! I love how the cereal harkens back to childhood, but the pina colada sauce makes it more adult. Fun pairing!

Bren said...

i can't tell you how "Cuban" this is! LOL. We use cornflakes sometimes to give food crunch, we eat tilapia all the time and of course piña colada is part of our drinking repertoire. great and fun dish for this month's theme!

Victoria said...

I love pina coladas... and sustainable fish :) This looks like a great combo, love the cornflake crust too!

Tanantha said...

Marisa!! Sorry i was so slow on checking out your makeover dish. i just had a surgery. anway, the pina coladas caught my attention! It's my favorite drink :) that sounds intriuging to see you incoroperate the interesting sauce to the crusted tilapia. Genius!

angela@spinachtiger said...

A great choice. People love tilapia, and I didn't realize it was on the list. Looks really flavorful.

Daily Spud said...

I like piña coladas and I most certainly like this :) Never tried using cornflakes as a crumb coating but will have to try it now!

Jessica said...

Welcome to the group! I love tilapia, especially when paired with a slightly sweeter sauce. Pina Colada is such a creative spin on a traditional dish. Loved the idea and dish!

Trix said...

So tropical! Like a holiday on a plate. : )