My friend, Gibbs, and I talk about food in depth and very frequently. Yesterday she told me she was in the middle of poaching some fish for lunch. I thought to myself: I have fish, I have wine, and I have potatoes. I should do that. So I did! In my freezer I have quite a few fillets of tilapia that are always on hand. I find that it’s a wonderful, firm, yet flaky fish that works well under many preparations. Usually I broil or pan fry it, and have never in my life poached fish before! So the inspiration and instructions/recipe credit for this post go to Gibbs! You should probably check out the joint cupcake blog that we run, and update infrequently, together: Cupcake Villains. We like to bake.
The potatoes that I used for this side are actually from my community garden plot. Since I was gone for much of the summer, and because I was a little lax in paying attention to my soil needs, my garden did not do well this year. The three things that did actually produce this summer were my potatoes, bell peppers, and pumpkins. Watch for posts using the bell peppers and the pumpkins in the not so distant future.
The basket holds all of the potatoes that I harvested. I had planted “all blue,” “desiree,” “yellow finn” and “burbank” varietals. Most of what you see in the basket will go toward seed potatoes to be re-planted in a few weeks, except for the few sacrifices that kindly offered themselves for my dinner tonight. In California, we are lucky enough to have a long growing season, and I hope to plant again, paying more attention to them as they grow, to receive a larger yield. I’ll cross my fingers.
The smashed potatoes are really easy to make. Boil your potatoes until tender…and I mean pretty darn tender, not al dente. Line a baking sheet with foil (it cuts down on cleaning!) and then spray/brush it with some olive oil. Use a large spoon or fork to smash the potatoes down. Mine were not quite cooked well enough, and they broke apart rather than smashed. Spray/brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 3:75 degrees for about 30 minutes, checking to make sure they don’t burn!
Your potatoes will be nice and crispy, especially the skins, but the centers will be creamy and soft.
And now for the poached fish! While I used viognier and tilapia, any semi dry – dry wine and any solid white fish can be used in this preparation method.
Viognier Poached Tilapia
2 tilapia fillets, thawed if previously frozen
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. chopped thyme
1/2 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. viognier
Over low-medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and garlic and saute slowly, until everything is nice and tender. You may notice the butter browning – don’t worry. Turn the heat down a bit, though, so the butter doesn’t burn. Add the vegetable broth and wine and de-glaze the pan, making sure there are no stuck-on pieces of onion hanging out in the pan.
After bringing the liquids to a light simmer, add the tilapia fillets to the pan.
Keep the heat at a low simmer, spooning the poaching liquid over the fish frequently. Flip the fish over once you notice the bottom becoming nice and white. You will be able to tell that the fish is done when it starts to flake apart. Carefully remove the fish from the pan and serve immediately. I chose to place mine on top of a bed of arugula that had a light squeeze of lemon on it. Feel free to serve however you like. Enjoy!