I had purchased some tilapia the other day and needed to get it cooked. Looking around the kitchen, I had a Meyer lemon (though I opted for some of my salt cured lemon instead later), some brined green olives, salt, pepper, flour. Googling the ingredients resulted in a Tilapia Piccata recipe. However, for just me I didn’t feel like breaking open a bottle of white wine so I went to the liquor cabinet to see what stood out as a possible substitute. Way, way in the back a bottle of vermouth lurked, neglected for some time. Perfect!
Here’s the recipe for Fish Piccata, Offbeat Cook Style.
2 tilapia filets, patted dry
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I won’t speak of the tribulation of creating some home-made mayonnaise the other day, but it is delicious)
1 tablespoon liquid from salt cured lemons
enough salt and pepper to season the filets
1/2 cup vermouth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 olives minced (replaces capers in the tradition recipe)
1 garlic clove minced
1 tablespoon minced cured lemon peel
salt and pepper seasoned flour to coat the tilapia
1/2 cup parmesan to top filets
Start by combining the vermouth, lemon juice, minced olives lemon peel, and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce by half and set aside.
Season the filets. Mix the mayonnaise and liquid from the lemon cure until smooth and coat the filets. Dredge in the flour. In a heated sauté pan, using a tablespoon of olive oil, sauté the fish until lightly browned then flip gently. Top with the parmesan and throw this all under a 450 degree broiler until the fish is cooked through and the parmesan golden brown.
Server over some sort of starch. I chose couscous. Spoon the sauce over the fish and enjoy.