The whole thing started one morning this week when I decided to make cornbread. For breakfast. That’s what happens when you read Cornbread Nation 4 (Southern essay-style food writing at its finest), buy Crescent Dragonwagon’s Cornbread Gospels cookbook, and decide not to go back on your raisin’, at least today.
When I had finished my morning repast of dainty (wheat-free!) cornbread pieces, dipped in molasses for historical accuracy, I had some left over for dinner.
Cornbread. Fish. We’re on to something here.
I dug around in the freezer for some tilapia, my favorite fish for baking. I decided upon a simple preparation: Sprinkle the fish with salt and garlic powder, then dredge in a mixture of breadcrumbs, freshly grated parm and some parsley.
The side dish required a little more creativity. I am attempting to ease myself back into a sugar-free, wheat-free diet, or at least significantly reduced. Although I really want pasta, I know that short-grain brown rice is my best option. It is thought by some to have detoxifying effects, not to mention lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. It also has a lovely, nutty flavor, although the white-rice-addicted may need some time to adjust.
To dress up the flavor a bit, I decided to dice and sauté an orange bell pepper that has been languishing in my crisper, along with some carrot and celery. I also chopped some jarred roasted red bell pepper, just for a change in sweetness and texture, holding it to the side until the sautéed veg was ready to go into the rice.
While the brown rice took its sweet time cooking (45 minutes or so), I sautéed the veggies (too early, but no matter) and got the fish ready to bake.
Here I should note the obvious error of using breadcrumbs when I’m trying to avoid wheat. It was one of those autopilot moments — this is the way I’ve always made this recipe. Next time I’ll experiment with cornmeal and parm, but for now, this will do.
I salted the rice while cooking, but not much. When it was done, I stirred in the veggies, along with a healthy scrubbing of parm against my mighty Microplane. You might add a splash of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce (the real kind, please), but don’t overdo it; this ain’t stir-fry.
Meanwhile, the fish baked for 10 minutes at 375 degrees on an oiled pan. You should check yours and adjust depending on the filet thickness; I recommend a thermometer to get it right without cutting into the fish (I use this one and cook to 145 degrees).
I reheated my beloved cornbread in the (gasp) microwave. I know, I shoulda put it in the hot oven with the fish. At this point I was desperately trying to get out the door to a girlie get-together, and I was lucky to take a photo for you (you’re welcome). I got a bite of fish. But reheated later that night, everything was lovely.
Oh, and the cornbread…it deserves its own post. Another day, my friends.