Best. Meal. Ever.
Super Picky Boyfriend was in town over the weekend, so we had the usual debate- go out to dinner, or cook? Apparently the food I make isn’t substantial enough for growing boys. I said seafood sounded really good to me, so the debate became: go to Red Lobster or buy some fish from B-foods and make it ourselves. I told him since he would have to buy dinner, it depended on whether he wanted to spend $10 on the fish, or $40 on the meal. Clearly he thinks like the big city accountant that he is 🙂
Super Picky Boyfriend also really likes polenta (even though he first wanted to try it thinking it may be something crescent roll-like (?) (I’m still confused on that one)). I told him I would make polenta with this, so he could pick out the fish. I was pretty impressed when he came back with tilapia and said he had thought ahead that it would go well with the cornmeal.
I rarely buy fresh fish and cook it the same day, so this was a huge treat for me. There’s something insane satisfying about a fresh piece of fish.
I have never really had polenta before, so I was a little unsure about how to make it. I have a couple Taste of Home/Betty Crocker cookbooks that are my go to when I want to make comforty food for the first time. I adapted a recipe from Taste of Home and really, really enjoyed it.
Oven Roasted Tilapia
-preheat oven to 375 degrees C
-rub both sides of fish in olive oil. Season with tea smoked salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, lemon juice, and white balsamic vinegar
-bake for 15 minutes, or until done (for us this was when there was barely any resistance when a fork was placed into the deepest point of the fish)
(do this at least 1 hour ahead of when you want dinner on the table)
-sautee 1/2 an onion, a clove of garlic, and 2 stalks swiss chard (greens and stalk) in olive oil
-add contents of frying pan to a pot, add 3 cups water and 1 cup 2% milk; bring to a boil
-slowly add 1 cup cornmeal, whisking as you do it to avoid clumps
-let simmer for 8-10 minutes until cornmeal is creamy
-add 1/4 cup parmesan, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon sage
-pour into a greased 9×9 square baking pan and let chill in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes
Total Price: $11.43, or $5.72/person
–1 lb tilapia: $9.00
-1 cup organic milk: $0.42
-1 cup organic cornmeal: $0.30
-1/2 organic onion: $0.15
-1 clove organic garlic: $0.10
-2 stalks swiss chard: $0.46
-1/4 cup parmesan: $1.00
So this was obviously a little bit more than I typically spend on dinner, but it was SO worth it. It definitely beat spending $40 on a mediocre dinner, too 🙂