Tilapia with crust from olives and sundried tomatoes with bacon beans and mashed potatoes

During the summer season I love preparing fish in as many ways as I can.  It is one of those special foods that is not difficult to prepare and cooking time is short even for the impatient chef. Returning from...

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During the summer season I love preparing fish in as many ways as I can.  It is one of those special foods that is not difficult to prepare and cooking time is short even for the impatient chef. Returning from Holland I was excited to try my cheffing skills to make a nice fish for dinner. The Dutch Ports were full of huge ships bringing  in their catch of fresh seafood, everyday. Although the smell was not always appealing a recipe made with fresh fish directly from the sea port, is second to none.  Those of us, who don´t live at by the seaside, enjoy such occasions even more.  Back to Prague I visited my favourite fish store and purchased a fish I do not usually prepare, Tilapia.

Tilapia is one of those white fish that does not have its own remarkable flavour and is therefore suitable for combining it with other ingredients rather than the usual method of grilling it with salt, pepper and lemon. A popular way of preparing Tilapia is making a crispy crust for the top, that is absorbed into the fish during cooking, creating a flavourful result.

For crusts I always use a combination of breadcrumbs and some kind of nuts for crispness. In this recipe I used walnuts but feel free to use almonds or roasted pine nuts as well. Adding oil or butter serves to keep the form when put on the fish and also for keeping the breadcrumbs crispy after baking.

You may opt for other ingredients and seasoning, but my favourite is still olives (which you can read more about below this recipe including the reasons why they are often listed as one of the healthiest foods in the world). Enjoy!

Martina

Tilapia with Olive Crust and Bacon Beans

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Ingredients for 2 portions:

  • 2 big filets of tilapia
  • 5 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 1 big clove of garlic
  • Handful of walnuts
  • Handful of parmesan cheese
  • 3 sundried tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 100g of black olives, pitted
  •  100ml of white wine
  • Salt, pepper

Mashed Potatoes:

  • 3 bigger potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. of butter
  • 100 ml of milk,
  • salt

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Bacon Beans:

  • 2 handfuls of green beans,
  • 1 tbsp.  of butter,
  • 20g of bacon,
  • 1 clove of garlic,
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • salt

Preparation:

  1. First prepare the crust mixture. In a blender mix breadcrumbs, nuts, parmesan, garlic, basil leaves, sundried tomatoes, 4 table spoons of olive oil seasoned with salt.
  2. Cut olives in circles and incorporate in blended mixture. Put aside.
  3. Cut both sides of green beans (about 1cm). In a pan, melt the butter, add bacon cut in squares and sliced garlic. Roast for a minute and add prepared beans. Pour in water and season with salt. Simmer for about 15-20 min until beans are tender.
  4. Peel potatoes, cut in cubes and cook in salty water for about 15 minutes until tenderness. Remove from heat, add butter and milk and slightly crush potatoes with a fork so that they’re still a little chunky and the butter and milk are well incorporated.
  5. Preheat your oven to 180°C.DSC_0412
  6. Put tilapia filets in an ovenproof pan, season with salt and sprinkle with olive oil and wine.  Put in an oven for 5 minutes.
  7. Take out and on each filet heap a nice layer of prepared crust mixture. Place it back in the  oven for additional 10 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately with mashed potatoes and bacon beans decorated by basil leaves.

Tilapia with Olive Crust
Tilapia with Olive Crust

Olives

DSC_0400-       are classified as fruits of the Olea europea tree, it lives for an incredible hundreds of years

-       first mention of olives was around 8000 years ago

-       the largest producer is Spain, followed by Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria

-       90% of harvested olives are processed into olive oil the remaining 10% are eaten as a food

-       are harvested in September

-       are too bitter to be eaten right off the tree and must be cured to reduce their intrinsic bitterness

-       some olives are picked unripe, while others are allowed to fully ripen on the tree

-       many olives start off green and turn black when fully ripe. However, some olives start off green and remain green, while others start of black and remain black when fully ripe.

 

Water curing, brine curing, and lye curing are the most common treatment processes for olives, and each of these treatments can affect the color and composition of the olives.

-Water curing- does not eliminate all the bitterness even though olives are kept in water for a few weeks

-Brine curing- takes a longer time than water curing (a few months).  The olives are soaked in salty solution

-Lye curing- olives are kept in a strong alkali solutions containing either sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH).

The benifits of the “Olive” can be found in the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, musculoskeletal system, immune system, inflammatory system, and digestive system.

-       monounsaturated fat found in olives (and olive oil) can help to decrease blood pressure

-       contain also antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients

-       Hydroxytyrosol, is now regarded as having the potential to help us prevent bone loss. Consumption of a Mediterranean Diet has long been associated with decreased risk of osteoporosis, and olives often find themselves on center stage in Mediterranean Diet studies.