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Video: Spice it up with Cajun grilling

TODAY
updated 6/25/2007 5:24:21 PM ET 2007-06-25T21:24:21

Recipe: Creole-Spiced Tilapia on Tomato and Corn Bread Salad with Basil and Lemon Vinaigrette

Jimmy Bannos got this idea from the Italian bread salad called panzanella. This being a New Orleans-style recipe, though, it has to use corn bread and spicy fish.

Ingredients
  • BASIL AND LEMON VINAIGRETTE
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon Roasted-Garlic Puree
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • ROASTED GARLIC PUREE
  • 1 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • TOMATO AND CORN BREAD SALAD
  • 4 cups of diced Corn Bread, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1/2 teaspoon Angel Dust Cajun Seasoning
  • 4 cups diced ripe tomatoes, any variety
  • 4 (8 ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 2 teaspoons Angel Dust Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Balsamic Reduction
  • CORN BREAD
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely ground corn flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon bacon drippings, optional
  • ANGEL DUST CAJUN SEASONING
  • 3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • BALSAMIC REDUCTION
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Preparation

For Roasted Garlic Puree: Place garlic cloves in an ovenproof container and pour in the olive oil, making sure all cloves are covered. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in a preheated 300-degree oven until light brown, about 1 hour. Strain the garlic and puree in a blender, adding a little of the strained oil if necessary to form a smooth paste. Transfer to a container and pour in enough oil to cover. Use as needed, storing the remainder in an airtight container in a refrigerator. Refrigerate and store the garlic-infused oil in a separate container.

For Corn Bread: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 by 8-inch baking pan.  Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, then whisk in the milk, butter and bacon drippings.  Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until smooth.  Transfer to the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool slightly before cutting.

For Angel Dust Cajun Dressing: Combine all ingredient in a small bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Store in an airtight container.  The spice mix keeps its best flavor for about two months.  It is also available from Heaven on Seven's website, heavenonseven.com.

For Balsamic Reduction: Combine vinegar and sugar in a small sauce-pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer 15 minutes, until syrupy and reduced by two thirds. Use at room temperature, or refrigerate and re-warm gently to serve.

Creole-Spiced Tilapia Dish Instructions: To make the vinaigrette, place the lemon juice in a blender. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Add the honey, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and garlic puree; blend until incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the basil. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the diced corn bread on a jelly roll pan, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, and toss to distribute evenly. Bake for 20 minutes turning occasionally. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Season the fish with the Cajun seasoning. Heat the oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat. Add the tilapia and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, turning only once during cooking. It may be necessary to cook the fish in two batches).

To assemble the salad, place the toasted corn bread and tomatoes in a large bowl and dress with two-thirds of the vinaigrette. Divide among large dinner plates, place tilapia on top, and drizzle with remaining dressing. Finish with a drizzling of balsamic reduction over both the salad and the fish.

Serving Size

Serves 4

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