Pan-Fried Tilapia with White Wine Sauce

Ample Bites loves a simple fish dish for dinner. This recipe for Pan-Fried Tilapia with White Wine Sauce fits the bill nicely. Serve it with a side of brown rice and a fresh vegetable and you have a healthy, simple and elegant meal that can be pulled together in about 20 minutes.

Pan-Fried Tilapia with White Wine Sauce
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 2

2-4 tilapia fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)
1 large shallot minced
1 large garlic clove minced
1 tsp capers
½ cup flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley

Place flour in a shallow rimmed dish and season with salt and pepper. Place bread crumbs in a second shallow dish. Place beaten eggs in a medium-sized bowl.

Dip a fish fillet in the egg then dredge it in the flour. Dip the fillet back in the egg and then dredge it in the bread crumbs to give it a solid coating on both sides. Repeat for each of the remaining fillets.

Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Reduce the heat to medium and place the fillets in the oil and cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip each piece and cook for another 2 minutes.

Place the fish on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet over medium heat Once the butter has melted add the shallot and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping loose all browned bits. Simmer the wine until it is reduced by about half. Finish the sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the capers.

To serve, plate the tilapia and season it with salt and pepper. Spoon a portion of the sauce over the fish and garnish with parsley

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Garlic Shrimp with White Beans

Garlic Shrimp and White Beans is a Spanish dish that Ample Bites found in a recent addition of Bon Appetit magazine. I was drawn to the simplicity of the recipe and the depth of flavor that dried chiles, paprika and garlic add to the basic palette of shrimp and white beans. The whole dish preparation, including peeling and deveining the shrimp, takes about 30 minutes. If you buy peeled and deveined raw shrimp, you can cut the prep time to about 20 minutes.

Garlic Shrimp and White Beans
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit Magazine, October 2012)

Serves 4

6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 dried Arbol or Guajillo chiles
1 bay leaf
1 ¼ cups chopped tomato (about 8 oz)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Finely grated hard white cheese to garnish

Preheat broiler. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add 1 garlic clove, chiles and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, 1-2 minutes (do not allow garlic to burn). Add tomato; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and smashing tomato with the back of a wooden spoon, until tomato is completely broken down, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is deep red and caramelized, 3-4 minutes. Stir in beans and broth. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until juices are slightly reduced and thickened, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons oil, shrimp and paprika in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat shrimp. Scatter shrimp over beans in an even layer.

Broil until shrimp are golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil over shrimp and beans. Garnish with parsley and serve with bread.

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Tuscan Herbed Tomato Tart

Tuscan Herbed Tomato Tart is a great way to use those last bunches of cherry and grape tomatoes from the summer garden harvest. This type of savory tart is as close as Ample Bites comes to baking. Although the tart obviously uses puff pastry, which is not low-cal, the tart is surprisingly light. Ample Bites served the Tuscan Herbed Tomato Tart as a side dish with pasta.

Torta Di Pomodori (Herbed Tomato Tart)
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Saveur Magazine)

Serves 6-8

1 9” x 11” sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and chilled
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 anchovy filets in oil, drained and finely chopped
1 ½ lbs cherry or grape tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp finely chopped chives
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano

Heat oven to 375F. Place pastry sheet onto a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking pan turning the edges of the pastry up to hold the filling. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Line the bottom and sides of the pastry with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake until edges of the tart are golden, 25 minutes. Remove beans and parchment paper, sprinkle Parmesan over tart shell and bake until cheese is melted and tart is golden all over, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Heat oven to broil and arrange a rack 4” below the heating element. In a large bowl, mix together oil and anchovies, add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer tomato mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and broil, shaking pan once or twice, until tomatoes blister, 12-14 minutes. Let cool slightly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato mixture to the prepared tart shell, distributing tomatoes evenly.

Increase oven heat to 425F. In a medium bowl, combine the parsley, chives and oregano; sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tomatoes. Return tart to oven and bake until hot, about 15 minutes. Let tart cool slightly before serving.

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Grilled Meatball Sandwiches with Arugula Pesto

Ample Bites is unsure of which element of this dish was the star. Was it the grilled meatballs or was it the arugula pesto? I guess it doesn’t really matter because the Grilled Meatball Sandwiches with Arugula Pesto was a big hit at the Ample Bites dinner table last night.

Grilled Meatball Sandwich
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Epicurious and This is a Cookbook by Eli and Max Sussman, 2012)

Serves 4-6

2 lbs ground beef
½ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Oil for grill
1 large baguette
Arugula Pesto (see recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine the beef, ricotta, Parmesan, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, garlic, red pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix gently just until combined. Form the mixture into 12 meatballs about the size of golf balls, putting them onto a lightly oiled baking sheet as you work. Set aside at room temperature.

Preheat grill to high. Rub the grill rack with oil. Arrange the meatballs on the grill without crowding. Using tongs, grill until evenly browned on all sides and cook to medium, 8-10 minutes total. Transfer to a platter or clean baking sheet as they are finished. Let rest for 5 minutes while you assemble the sandwiches.

Cut the baguette crosswise into fourths and split each piece horizontally. Lay the pieces, cut side down on the grill. Toast until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Lay the Provolone slices on half of the baguette pieces. Place three meatballs on top of the cheese-lined baguette slices. Garnish with pesto and serve immediately.

Arugula Pesto

1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds or shelled pistachios
1 cup packed fresh arugula leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Toast the nuts lightly in small skillet over low heat, then add them to a food processor.
Add the arugula, basil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse to combine.
With the processor on, stream in the extra-virgin olive oil to form thick pesto.

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White Bean Pizza with Prosciutto and Fontina

White Bean Pizza with Prosciutto and Fontina is an amazing alternative to the typical tomato sauce-based varieties of pizza. The prosciutto, rosemary and cracked red pepper give the pie a robust flavor. This is a new Ample Bites favorite.

White Bean Pizza with Prosciutto and Fontina
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 4

1 pizza dough, divided into equal crusts
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 can (15-ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp chopped rosemary
2 ounces chopped sliced prosciutto
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded

Prepare pasta dough and divide the dough into four equal crusts.

In a medium heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil and the butter over medium-high heat and caramelized the sliced onion, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a bowl mash the beans along with the red pepper, rosemary and prosciutto.
Place the pizza crusts one at a time on a preheated pizza stone. Brush the dough with a light layer of olive oil and spread the bean mixture over the dough leaving about ¾” around the perimeter uncovered. Top the pizza with ¼ of the cheese and ¼ of the caramelized onion.

Bake each pizza for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and crust is golden.

Before serving, drizzle with oil and cut into wedges.

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A New Juice Recipe

After taking a short break from drinking juices for lunch Ample Bites has started again. I recently discovered this new recipe for Red Juice with Ginger that uses raw beets. It is excellent.

Red Juice with Ginger
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Makes about 24 ounces

2 large carrots
2 celery stems
1 large Granny Smith apple
1 large red beet
1 large cucumber
5 leaves Tuscan kale
1 peeled orange or lemon
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger

Chop the vegetables and process them through an electric juicer or blender. Serve immediately.

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Shrimp Stock – A Rich Base for Seafood Recipes

Ample Bites has written previously about the value of Shrimp Stock but I have recently made some refinements to my Shrimp Stock recipe that make the base for seafood recipes richer and more flavorful.

The key differences between this recipe and Ample Bites prior version are oven-roasting of the mirepoix, the mixture of onions, carrots and celery and the incorporation of tomato paste. The combination of the deeper caramelization of the vegetables and the complexity of the tomato paste do the trick. Give this version a try with your next seafood dish requiring a stock. I think you will be pleased with the results.

Shrimp Stock
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Makes about 3 quarts

4 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped carrot
2 cups chopped celery
2 Tbsp canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4-6 quarts shrimp shells or 2 ½ pounds large fresh shrimp
½ cup whole garlic cloves
5 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs sage
6 Tbsp tomato paste
1 gallon water

Preheat oven to 450F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, toss onion, carrot and celery with vegetable oil. Spread the mixture onto the prepared pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 30 to 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

If using fresh shrimp, peel shrimp under cold water reserving shells and meat. Cover and refrigerate the shrimp until ready to use.

In a very large heavy-bottomed pot, cook shrimp and shells over high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until they turn pink. If using shells only boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Add roasted vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring frequently, until paste begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pot with a bot of water.

Add the remaining water to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 40 to 45 minutes. Strain mixture, reserving the liquid.

Use the stock immediately or freeze in plastic containers for up to 6 months.

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One-Pot Dish – Braised Chicken Thighs

This one-pot dish is perfect for a busy weeknight. The preparation of Braised Chicken Thighs with Capers and Parsley takes about 15 minutes and then the pot does the rest of the work braising the poultry and creating a sauce that is perfect over rice, couscous or pasta.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Capers and Parsley
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine, September 2012)

Serves 4

4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large red onion, minced
8 chicken thighs, bone-in preferred (about 2 lb.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley plus more for garnish
1/3 cup capers
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup sherry wine vinegar

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer onion to a bowl.

Add w tablespoons oil to the same Dutch oven and increase heat to medium-high. Season chicken with salt. Add the chicken and cook turning once, until golden brown on both sides, 10-12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add reserved onion, parsley and capers to the Dutch oven; cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, wine and vinegar. Add chicken. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until meat is tender and falling off the bone, about 75 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken; garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

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Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio

Francesca’s on the Fox in Saint Charles, Illinois is an Ample Bites favorite and the nightly variation of their beef carpaccio appetizer is always a part of our order.

Francesca’s uses a sirloin beef cut and they pound the meat paper-thin to create a beautifully constructed starter. Ample Bites uses a beef tenderloin tip and builds more of an entree salad serving. Francesca’s sears their beef to just rare before serving. Ample Bites approaches medium-rare where the beef is less elastic and the serving remains slightly thicker.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with Thyme and Asiago
(Adapted from Beef: And Other Bovine Matters, John Torode – 2009)

Serves 4

12 black peppercorns
½ Tbsp flaked sea salt
leaves from 4 thyme sprigs
7-8 ounce center cut beef tenderloin
4-5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving

2 handfuls of mixed salad greens
2 ounces Asiago cheese

Grind the peppercorns and mix with the salt and 3/4ths of the thyme leaves. Rub the beef lightly with some of the olive oil. Rub the pepper-thyme mixture over the beef on all sides. Allow the beef to stand at room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes.

Heat grill to high. Sear the beef on all sides with total cooking time 9 – 12 minutes, until medium-rare and internal temperature reaches 135F. Remove from the grill and allow to cool to close to room temperature.

Using a long, sharp knife slice the beef as thinly as possible. Place the slices on a board and flatten them to make them slightly bigger.

Cover the serving plates with the beef. Season, then drizzle with half the lemon juice. Toss the salad with the olive oil and the remaining lemon juice. Scatter the salad over the beef, then shave the cheese over the top. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the lemon wedges.

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Antipasto Finger Food

If you enjoy an Italian antipasto platter as much as Ample Bites, you will like this easy to prepare finger food version. The playfully named Charcuterie Cones use thinly sliced hard salami as a wrap to enclose a zesty raddicchio, pepperoncini and goat cheese salad. Ample Bites served the Charcuterie Cones as an appetizer for the first time yesterday and they were a huge hit.

One tip Ample Bites learned from the preparation was to have the soppressata or hard salami sliced thin, but not too thin. If you can see through the slices, you may need to double them up to hold the salad. It also helps to chill the appetizer for about 30 minutes before serving.

Charcuterie Cones
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Food & Wine magazine, November 2012)

Makes 24 cones

24 slices of soppressata or hard salami, thinly sliced
1 small head of radicchio, shredded
5 pepperoncini, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the radicchio, pepperoncini, goat cheese, vinegar, oil and pine nuts and fold together until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the salad to rest for 10 – 15 minutes for flavors to blend.

Arrange the slices on a work surface and divide the salad equally among them. Roll the sausage to form 24 cones and serve or refrigerate for serving later.

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