06 January 2007

Provencal January Summer

As the holidays came to a close, I was musing about a cold January of soups and stews, thinking that the planet might actually kick itself into gear and throw us a bit of winter. Not that I mind, of course, being notoriously cold-blooded, and having thoroughly enjoyed a post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich picnic al fresco.

But as the temperatures in New York climbed to above 70 F on January 6, things are beginning to feel a bit weird. One can't help but wonder what will happen with the life cycles of our plants, with cherry trees blossoming in the Brooklyn Botanic gardens, and if we are going to have winter at all. Concern for our planet may make us take all the "eat local, eat seasonable" advice to heart, but what season is it, exactly?

After playing in the park and sitting outdoors at a cafe, I was dreaming of Mediterranean breezes, which inspired this simple dinner. It turned out to be a perfect light dish, a simple sauce accented with just the right bite of salty olives and herbs to compliment the tender fish. A satisfying start to a healthy New Year, no matter what the weather brings us.

P.S. To those celebrating Epiphany, I wish you a happy holiday!

Provencal-Style Tilapia
This is a perfect easy dinner, served with good crusty bread or some basmati rice.

1-2 tbl olive oil
2 small shallots, chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup black Nicoise olives
2 medium Tilapia fillets
fresh black pepper

- Heat the olive oil in a wide deep saute pan. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, depending on how juicy your can of tomatoes was. Reserve a bit of the parsely for garnish and add the rest to the sauce pan with the olives. Let the sauce come to a simmer, it should only take a couple minutes. Reduce the heat to low and carefully slide the two fillets into the sauce so they are submerged. Simmer until the tilapia is opaque and flakes easily, about 10 minutes.
- Carefully lift the fillets with a spatula onto plates and spoon some of the sauce over top. Sprinkle with the reserved parsley and season with fresh black pepper.

No comments: