Baked White Fish with a Pine Nut-Pesto Crust

12 Mar

Big name for a quick, easy dinner.  I whipped up last night’s dinner in probably 35 minutes or less, with a minimal preparation.  And that was a wonderful thing, because this Daylight Savings Time wreaked havoc on my sleep.  Or maybe it was that my parents were here, and we stayed up until 1:30 (but really, it was 2:30) playing games, and then the Little Guy didn’t get the memo to sleep in, so he was awake at 7:00.  Maybe that was it.  I’m so lucky to have parents that will stay up until the wee hours to hang out – and to have a husband that wants them to!

Our Meal

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for quite a while now – it’s another Pinterest discovery…  By the way, I hope you and I move in different Pinterest circles.  I’ve noticed that recipes and old window frame photo ideas and how-to hairstyles and homemade cleaning product ideas seem to appear and then reappear and then reappear.  Maybe that just means I’m spending too much time on it, if I can identify trends like this.

This Baked White Fish (tilapia, for us) with a Pine Nut-Pesto Crust is a pretty way to serve, and an easy way to add flavor to, a bland frozen fish fillet – or, if you prefer to be more tactful about the description, a mild white fish fillet.  It’s from Kalyn’s Kitchen.  She mentions it’s a Phase One recipe, which is from the South Beach diet.  So, there you go.  If you’re in Phase One of the South Beach diet, this recipe is for you.  If you’re not, this recipe is still for you.  Selling points:  quick, easy, nutritious, pleasing to the eye, minimal clean-up, delish.

I served the Baked White Fish with a Pine Nut-Pesto Crust with roasted carrots and leftover Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup.  We loooove roasted carrots, and we’re nearing the end of our roasted carrot season.  Roasting veggies is just a little too hot in our kitchen during the summer months.

Roasted Carrots and Pesto'd Fish

Roasting carrots will transform even the most flavorless grocery store fare to gourmet goodness.  To roast carrots…
Peel (or don’t; leaving the peels on gives some nice texture and probably leaves some nutrients more intact) and cut your carrots into uniformly-sized pieces (so they cook evenly and approximately in the same amount of time).  Toss into an aluminum baking dish (I prefer a dish to a baking sheet because you can just slide everything back and forth to mix it without tossing it all onto the floor – I’m messy) and drizzle with olive oil.  Shake to coat all pieces.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper; don’t overseaon.  You can always add more at the table.  Cook at 400 for approximately 25 minutes; sometimes I crank it up to 425 instead, but the fish needed to cook at 400, so 400 it was today!

Baked White Fish with a Pine Nut-Pesto Crust
recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients
2 white fish fillets, about 6 oz. each (I used tilapia, but you could use cod, grouper, halibut or any mild white fish)
3 T pine nuts
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. finely minced garlic (1 garlic clove)
1 tsp. pesto
1 1/2 T mayo (use regular or light mayo, not fat-free)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400.  Spray baking dish (I like aluminum because it cooks so evenly and gets foods like this a bit crispy on the bottom, never soggy) with non-stick spray or olive oil.  Remove the fish fillets from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature while the oven reheats. (Having the fish at room temperature is very important or it won’t cook before the crust topping gets too brown.)

Finely chop the pine nuts and mince the garlic.  Mix together chopped pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, basil pesto, and mayo.
Pat the fish dry.  Use a rubber spatula or your fingers to spread the crust mixture evenly over the surface of each fish fillet.Bake fish 10-15 minutes, until fish is firm to the touch and crust mixture is starting to lightly brown.  To finish, broil for 1-2 minutes.

Note:  I didn’t measure my pesto or mayo, just eyeballed it.  So don’t feel like you have to either.  There’s a bit of culinary freedom for you.

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