IMBB #24 - Date Night Tilapia with Sofrito and Black Bean Couscous and Mexican Slaw

This meal represents 3 important food elements to me: the crunchy (slaw), the salty (olives with the fish) and a vehicle for a sauce (the couscous with it's monster ability to absorb the amazing broth of the fish). The tilapia and slaw are two things I make a lot but the couscous is truly a new experiment that I created just for this. I am suddenly in lust with Sofrito so I had to incorporate that with some of my other favorite flavors and I chose couscous (you could sub brown or white rice) because it soaks up so well (like I said vehicle for sauce).
You can finish all these dishes in 30 minutes for sure. I did while pausing to take pictures. Here is the order I'd suggest: Chop everything first - the cabbage, cilantro and jalepeno for the slaw, extra cilantro for the couscous and the onion for the fish. That's all the major prep. Get out a large skillet, medium saucepan and a medium mixing bowl. Now you are ready to have a kick ass thirty minutes of cooking fun! Get the onions started for the fish, assemble the slaw and let it stand, finish the tilapia and make the couscous last. Wow, that was fun, even better than the time I made the game winning free throw against the West Middle School Warriors or the time I met Tommy Tune (I really did meet him). Good luck and enjoy!

Mexican Slaw

1/2 small green cabbage (shredded)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 red or green jalepeno (seeds removed and finely diced)
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. vinegar (white, rice wine, balsamic, anything)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt (I like kosher or sea salt for this, this is a minimum, you may need more)
Dash garlic or onion powder
Dash pepper

Here's what you do: Wash and dry the cabbage (save the other half for a stir-fry). Shred it on the largest cutting edge of a box grater or just chop it into thin strips (not longer than two inches). Place the cabbage in a bowl, layer on the cilantro and jalepeno, sprinkle on ALL remaining ingredients. Toss and let it hang out for a bit either on the counter or in the fridge. Taste it and see if it needs more vinegar or sugar. I sometimes use ½ packet of Splenda instead of sugar and leave out the oil if I'm really trying to be good. This goes really well with Asian food too, you can sub 1 teaspoon sesame oil in and chopped peanuts or sesame seeds.

Date Night Tilapia

(this gets it's name from the fact that I often order a dish like this at a place my husband and I frequent on our "dates")

1 lb Tilapia (fresh or frozen fillets)
2-3 tbsp. sliced green olives with pimentos
1-2 tbsp. diced pickled jalapeno (or leave them as slices)
2 tbsp. capers
1 cup diced sweet onion (white or yellow is fine too)
2 cups chicken broth (or one 15 ounce can)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper and paprika
lime wedges (garnish)

Okay, sauté the onions on medium in a large skillet with a lid (or use a big plate or platter if you don't have a lid) for a minute or two in 1 tbsp. of oil, add the oregano and garlic powder. Stir around, then add the capers, jalapenos and olives. Increase the heat to medium high, add broth and fish and cover. Cook for about 3-4 minutes (5-6 if the fish is frozen when you put it in) until the fish is white throughout. Serve with a sprinkle of paprika, drizzle of olive oil, dash of salt and lime juice. This is also great with some thinly sliced carrot or diced tomatoes. The real clincher is the Mexican oregano - if you can’t find it, email me and I’ll send you some. Seriously I will. You can substitute regular dried oregano but use a little less.

Sofrito and Black Bean Couscous

1 can black beans - 15 ounce (drained and rinsed)
3 tbsp. Sofrito (you can buy it frozen or find it in the ethnic food aisle)
1 c. water
1 tsp. chicken boullion (optional)
1 c. whole wheat couscous
salt to taste
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro (bit more if you like, I like)

In a sauce pan (with a lid) heat the olive oil on medium. Add the Sofrito and stir until it starts to get stickier but don't cook it too long just until the consistency changes a bit and the aroma releases. Add the black beans and stir around to marry the Sofrito flavors to the beans. If you like, add a teaspoon of boullion or soup base, incorporate it and add the water. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the couscous, stir, cover and turn off the heat. Don't open the lid for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous, add the cilantro and taste to see if it needs more salt (between the Sofrito and boullion it shouldn't need much).

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