09 January 2008

Tilapia with Pureed Chickpeas and Olive Relish

Being, as I am, quite the fan of black olives (and, for that matter, any kind of olive) I could never quite put my finger on why I have never been able to find a tapenade that I particularly cared for. So, when I made this olive relish and looked up "tapenade" to ensure that I didn't make myself look like an idiot by calling it tapenade, imagine my surprise to find out that tapenade must contain capers. That explains so much. I don't like capers. So, this olive relish isn't tapenade. It doesn't have any capers. But it is very tasty.

This dish is deceptively filling. I figured that I would need a snack later in the evening, but this kept me going until it was time for bed, which was a pleasant surprise. So, if you're looking for a great meat and potatoes alternative, this is it.

Olive Relish (Not Tapenade)

1 can black olives
2-3 cloves garlic
large pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon or so freshly ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon good-quality balsamic vinegar

1. Finely chop the olives. Mince the garlic, then sprinkle it with the salt and use the side of your knife to make a paste out of the garlic. This takes a little time. If you want a smoother texture, transfer the olives and garlic to a mortar and pestle and mash as much as desired.
2. Stir in the pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can use it immediately, but the flavor improves as it sits.

Roasted Garlic Chickpea Puree

1 head garlic
olive oil
1 can chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the top off the head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in an oven-safe dish and roast for 45 minutes. Let cool enough to handle.
2. Squeeze the garlic out of the papery skin in a blender carafe or food processor. Add the chickpeas, olive oil and chicken stock, and puree. Tranfer to a medium saucepan.
3. Add the butter and warm over medium-low heat until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pan-Seared Tilapia

2 Tilapia fillets (or other flaky white fish)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Rinse and dry the Tilapia and check over for bones. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet.
2. Season the fish liberally with salt and pepper. Place in the skillet and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side, until no longer translucent and the fish flakes easily with a fork.

To Serve: Spoon half of the chickpea puree onto the middle of the plate. Lay the fish about halfway over the chickpeas, and top with a spoonful of the olive relish.

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