Pan-fried Tilapia fillets with stir-fry rice & veggies
2.5 cups white rice
1/4 cup melted butter
1 lemon, juiced
4 tilapia flillets, halved
2 bell peppers, diced (red & green)
1 cucumber, sliced
4 shallots, minced
2 carrots, peeled & sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cups white flour
2 tbsp basil leaves, crushed
1 tbsp spanish rosemary, crushed
1 tbsp anise seed, crushed
2 tbsp onion powder
3 tbsp sea salt
3 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
Ok, the prep work for this one took a few minutes, but it wasn't all that bad, really. This is one HELL of a date dinner, so guys, save this one and try it!
First, boil about 5 cups of water in a medium pot, seasoned with salt and a little bit of butter (about 1 tbsp). Add your rice and bring it back to a slow boil.
Using a medium saucepan or wok, bring some vegetable oil up to about 200 degrees and add sliced/diced/minced veggies (veggies should immediately spatter when hitting the oil). Using a spatula or whisk, stir fry the veggies, adding the soy sauce as you go for flavor and color. Continue until the veggies are slightly caramelized and set aside on medium-low heat.
Combine the lemon juice and melted butter in a small bowl and brush tilapia fillets with the lemon butter until they're nice and coated. Combine flour and spices (basil, rosemary, anise, onion powder, salt & pepper) in a mixing bowl and stir until even. Using a medium-sized fry pan, heat some more vegetable oil (enough to coat the pan).
Gently bread the fillets by rolling them in the flour mixture until they have an even coat of flour & spices. Transfer immediately to the pan. Sear & flip the flillet and transfer to a hot plate. Drain the oil and repeat for all the fillets.
When you're done, for extra points, add some white wine and the rest of the lemon butter to the pan you fried the fish in. Use a wooden spoon to get the glaze off of the pan as you heat the wine & butter. When it's all up, add some heavy cream to the mixture (how much depends on the amount of liquid in the pan, but no more than half the total already there). Let it simmer for a few minutes on low heat and skim the fat from the surface. Use this sauce when plating the fish. :)
I usually set a rice pilaf down, then the fillets on one side of the pilaf. Then garnish with the sauce all around the pilaf and over the fillets, adding the veggies to the other side of the pilaf. Serve with a nice, fruity pinot grigio or chardonnay. :)