Apparently, tilapia is a bird. Before you go looking for the comment button, let be explain. Farmed tilapia’s fat content much more closely resembles that of chicken than most fish. Anyway, this week we had eschewed a weekend visit to the fish market in favor of the Fairway’s seafood counter. This was a Monday and I had worked the previous weekend all day, both days. I got home feeling tired and in need of some serious food comfort. Rather than breading or baking, I decided to just throw a stick of butter into my skillet and once it was going add the fish. I remember making catfish in our college with this method and boy howdy does it do the trick. I kept squeezing lemons into the pan as the fish cooked and the result was simple, buttery and just what the doctor ordered.
Again, not wanting to be overly burdened, I opted for the world’s easiest side, couscous. The entire affair was getting a bit beige, so I mixed up a salsa of tomatoes, shallots and fresh mint, all left over from the weekend. It brightened up the fish and flavored the otherwise bland couscous. I find that it’s very hard to flavor couscous the way you might rice or even small pasta. Something about its density just sucks in flavors and hides them from the tongue. Lately I have been using large-scale additions like chopped veggies and herbs instead of grating half a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in there and still needing salt.
My favorite part about this dinner was how fast and painlessly it came together. This an advantage to cooking on the weekend: you’re sure to have some great ingredients in the fridge Monday when you just want to sit on the couch after a long day. Practice certainly enables spontaneity, but you need the right stuff on hand, ready-to-go or the creativity train careers right off the tracks. At least it does for me, anyway. With the weekend approaching, take a few minutes to consider a meal that you can enjoy Saturday or Sunday and employ the leftover components for another dish on Monday, Iron Chef style. Until then, friends, cook on!