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Bonnie Aeschliman: Surprise, some Kansans prefer fish

  • Published Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at 10:16 p.m.

PAN-SEARED TILAPIA WITH LIME BUTTER

Tilapia is available locally and is a mild-flavored, firm-fleshed white fish.

Serves 4.

FOR THE LIME BUTTER:

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeno

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

FOR THE SEARED TILAPIA:

4 (5 ounce) skinless tilapia fillets

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pepper to taste

Seasoned Flour (1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pinch cayenne pepper)

3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Accompaniment: Steamed rice

Stir together lime butter ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge in seasoned flour. Shake off excess.

Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until sizzling but not smoking. Saute fish, a few pieces at a time to prevent overcrowding, until golden on the under side. Turn and brown the other side. This will take roughly 4 to 5 minutes.

Transfer cooked fillets to a plate and continue procedure until all fish are cooked. To serve, place a dollop of lime butter on each piece. Nice served with steamed rice.

THE WICHITA EAGLE — March 6, 2013

At a recent dinner I hosted for 40 people, I was surprised by how many preferred fish over beef.

When given the choice between beef tenderloin with a delicious sauce and a salmon roulade, 22 guests chose the salmon roulade while 18 selected the beef tenderloin. That astonished me considering we are in Kansas — a state known for our beef production and fabulous beef entrees.

As one woman registered for the event, she mentioned she had my cookbook “Farm to France” that contained the salmon roulade recipe. After requesting the salmon roulade as her entree, she candidly added that she wanted to taste it to see if the recipe was worth the effort to make it. I smiled as I took her reservation. Afterward, she gleefully reported that it was even better than she imagined and definitely would make it soon.

Let’s take a look at our readers’ questions about preparing fish at home.

Q. How in the world do you tell when fish is cooked? I am always afraid it will not be done, so I always overcook it. Last night my hubby said, “It’s kinda chewy.” Well, that was an understatement. It was right down tough. I baked it for about 45 minutes .

A. Yes, I imagine it was overcooked, although you did not indicate your oven temperature or what kind of fish. Most fish is baked in a moderate oven — around 350 degrees. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.

To take the mystery out of telling when fish is done, remember this rule: When fish is no longer translucent and glass-like but takes on an opaque or solid color, it is done. Do not cook it any longer once that color changes, and you will be rewarded with moist and tender fish.

Q. I do not cook fish at home because fish is expensive, and I don’t want to ruin it. Now that we are in the Lenten season, we are eating mostly fish sticks and tuna salad. Can you tell me what kind of fish to buy that is mild and a very easy recipe that even I could do? And it would be a bonus if it didn’t break the bank.

A. Here is a quick and easy recipe using tilapia. Tilapia is available locally, is relatively inexpensive and has a very mild flavor.

Bonnie Aeschliman is a certified culinary professional who owns Cooking at Bonnie’s Place in Wichita. For more information, call 316-425-5224 or visit cookingatbonnies.com. To submit a question to Bonnie, e-mail her at bonnie@cookingatbonnies.com.

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