Monday, January 24, 2011

tilapia meunière

Meunière refers to both a lemon brown butter sauce and a method of preparation: to prepare something a la meunière is to dredge it in flour before cooking. Trout and sole are both common fish to cook a la meunière, at least in France. I had a bag of frozen tilapia fillets hanging around in my freezer that I decided would work well for this preparation (basically any flat white fish that holds together well), and I was right!

This came out so well, and was incredibly easy to do. Granted, you throw enough butter at anything and it will probably taste good...but still! ;)

Anyway, here's the recipe I used:


4 tilapia fillets, about 4-5oz each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 2 pieces

Browned butter:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

For the fish:

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Set 2 dinner plates on oven rack to keep warm while you make the fish.

Pat fish dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Let stand until fillets are glistening with moisture, about 5 minutes (this is to draw excess moisture out of fish so that it doesn't get soggy and greasy when it cooks).

Spread flour in a wide shallow dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and swirl to melt. Coat both sides of the fillets with flour, shake off excess. Carefully place two fillets in the skillet, "bone" side down (there's no bone in the fillet but you can see the line along the flat side of the fillet where the bones were). Immediately reduce heat to medium-high and cook without moving the fish until edges of the fillets are opaque, about 3 minutes.

CAREFULLY flip the fillets (and I do mean carefully...I have a lovely burn to show for the first one I flipped!), then continue to cook on the second side until the thickest part of the fillet easily separates into flakes when a toothpick or fork is inserted, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer each of the fillets to a heated plate in the oven. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining tablespoons of oil and butter and the remaining fillets. Transfer cooked fillets to plates in the oven.

For the browned butter:

While the fillets rest in the oven, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the skillet constantly, until the butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Off the heat, CAREFULLY stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the fillets from the oven, spoon the sauce over each fillet, and sprinkle with minced parsley.

I did steamed green beans for the side-dish, as I love the taste of lemony green beans anyway and so I figured they'd go nicely with the meunière sauce. I just spooned the sauce over the beans and the fish both.

Tilapia is, in my opinion, an entirely tasteless fish and I generally dislike it, but I will definitely make this again. I'd like to try it with trout this summer if I could catch some! :)