Category Archives: seafood

Tilapia with Pancetta Sage Breadcrumbs


I’ve been home for the past couple of days, which means a different kitchen (and way more supplies to work with). I’ve also been feeding my family instead of just myself. This change means that a) meals last a matter of minutes, rather than a matter of days and b) I pretty much have to involve meat in the meal for the carnivorous types who live here.

Today, we have another turkey antidote recipe. I love this breadcrumb topping on basically anything. My mom added it to cooked kale the other day, which made the kale surprisingly edible.

I served this recipe with sweet potato fries and roasted broccoli. So delicious, and really quite healthy.

Tilapia with Pancetta Sage Breadcrumbs:
2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from French bread with crust, ground in processor)
1 tablespoon sage
2 tablespoons butter
4 tilapia fillets

1) Cook pancetta in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to small bowl. Add breadcrumbs and sage to drippings in skillet. Stir over medium-high heat until breadcrumbs are almost crisp, 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pancetta. Let cool. Don’t turn off the stove.
2) Sprinkle fish fillets with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Melt butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish fillets and cook until golden brown on outside and just opaque in center, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place one fish fillet on each plate, top with breadcrumbs.

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Crab Cakes and Pesto Aioli

Tonight was one of those nights I was feeling particularly joyful to be back in the States. Specifically, back in the South ‘n’ East, where I can combine my love of Southern food and seafood into a fishy carb-fest. (Granted, the fish & chips fare of England could also be coined a “fishy carb-fest,” but my preference still lies below the Mason-Dixon line.)

I joined a Community Supported Fishery this summer, and I could not have been happier to receive a big container of crab meat this week. ‘Twas a sign from the coast and the currents that I needed to make crab cakes. My recipe is loosely based on this one. I found it to be a bit dry, so I added more mayonnaise. You could use another egg instead of an extra tablespoon of mayo, but then you might need to add more crushed crackers. I didn’t add any Old Bay because I didn’t have any, so I’ll have to see to that next time. A coarsely chopped red bell pepper would also make a delicious addition to the mixture. I will conclude, however, by saying that my anti-seafood roommate actually ate multiple bites of these crab cakes, so perhaps no changes are needed, after all.

Crab Cakes:
olive oil
2 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
16 ounces of crabmeat
1 egg
2 TB mayonnaise
1 tsp. cumin
5 ounces buttery crackers, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
salt
black pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs

1) Mince the onions and garlic and soften in a pan with olive oil on medium heat for about three minutes.
2) Place onions and garlic in a bowl with all other ingredients except the panko crumbs.
3) Pour bread crumbs into shallow dish. Form crab meat mixture into 1/2-inch patties and press into panko crumbs on either side, coating the cakes thoroughly.
4) Cook on medium heat with olive oil until crisp and browned on both sides.

Because making crab cakes for the first time wasn’t ambitious enough, I made my first attempt at an aioli to top the crab cakes. I cheated, since I used pre-made mayo rather than spending half the evening combining olive oil and an egg, but I promise to attempt it from scratch next time. I added homemade pesto (recipe to come, I promise), but you could just use some fresh basil. Or stick with the intense garlic flavor on its own.

Pesto Aioli:
2 TB mayonnaise
lemon juice
olive oil
pesto
dash of cayenne pepper
more minced garlic, if desired

1) Mix ingredients. Try to practice self-control. Just try.

We also dipped our sweet potato fries in the aioli. I’m saving that simple (and even more quintessentially Southern) recipe for tomorrow, so stay tuned!

What’s your favorite Southern-inspired recipe? I’m trying to pay homage to this region as I rapidly approach graduation and the possibility of having to leave it.