Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fishing for One

For the past several months I've been attempting to create a batch of recipes that make a single meal without much in the way of leftovers. One of the key tricks to making meals for one happen regularly is the ability to have available small amounts of meat (since I'm basically a carnivore and think that every meal should have meat at it's core) in the freezer at all times for days like this when I come home hungry and with little energy - or maybe other stuff to get to.

Tonight night I stopped at my favorite shopping place - the freezer in my garage - and pulled out one of the great things to have on hand for quick meals - an IQF piece of talapia. IQF is fancy talk for Individually Quick Frozen. Since the seafood industry has figured out how to process and flash freeze fish while still out at sea, this means that the stuff we're getting in the freezer section is pretty tasty. And fresh. My talapia filet is in a little shrink wrapped package awaiting my bidding at a moments notice. I can pull out one piece from the freezer for just me, or several pieces if someone is joining me for dinner.

At the grocery this week I splurged on a container of fresh salsa and tonight I turned that into my favorite seafood dish - well I would give it a name here but it doesn't have one. Let's call it Southwest Style Talapia.

Here's how my dinner came together tonight.

I pulled this stuff out of the freezer and pantry. Luckily I had some rice precooked in the fridge, but it would be simple to make some from scratch.

1-Pull the frozen fish and corn from the freezer and thaw
2-Make the cheater salsa - if you let it sit a few minutes the corn picks up the flavors of the salsa
3-Prep and cook the fish
4-Heat your rice in the micro - stir in a bit of salsa to give extra flavor
5-Plate up!

SOUTHWEST STYLE TALAPIA

1 talapia fillet
southwest seasoning blend
olive oil
black bean and corn salsa - cheater recipe follows
precooked rice

If the talapia is frozen, stick it in a pan or bowl (still in it's plastic covering) and cover with cold water. Let sit for 15 minutes and it will be thawed and ready to use.

Remove the fish from it's container, pat it fairly dry and sprinkle with seasoning blend to your taste. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed, non-stick skillet, add the fish and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

CHEATER BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA

1/2 cup store bought fresh salsa - buy the good stuff here - just because I'm too lazy to make salsa from scratch tonight doesn't mean I like the canned stuff
1/4 cup frozen corn - rinsed in warm water to thaw
1/4 cup cooked black beans - I happened to have some left over from my Cuban Black Bean soup last week but you could open a small can of beans for this

Mix all ingredients together. Et viola! Dinner is served. It all came together - including thaw time for the frozen fish and corn - in about 25 minutes. I've got lots of salsa left but I justify spending the cash on a store salsa since the cost of the tub was the same as the fresh cilantro alone at the store I happened to be at. Now there is snacking salsa left. Ole!

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