Yesterday evening I was in one of those moods that I get in when I haven't had a chance to roam around outside. I come home from work hungry so I'm naturally in need of food, I have such an innate desire to walk through my herb garden to feel, taste and smell the herbs, but I want to just curl up and stay warm. I'm telling you right now - those 3 things do not blend well. The only course of action I have is to do all three in some form or another.
So when I got home I pulled three frozen Tilapia fillets out of the freezer. Yep, that frozen stuff in a bag, 3 nice pieces, each individually frozen in little plastic packets. Then I got on my everyday clothes, bundled up, grabbed a basket and went outside. Oh my, it was way too cold for an old girl like me but on my way out to the herb garden I saw male and female red birds flitting around, a downy woodpecker and I like to scared the heron fishing along the lakeside to death and off he flew. I checked on my garlic bed all snuggled beneath the straw, said hello to Pete, our dog, and finally, made it to my herb garden. It looks so stark right now. But it's just asleep and that's what I have to remember. The chives are all yellowed and matted down, but the sage still has some life to it. The oregano is still ready and waiting though lying close to the ground. The nettles, wild garlic and rosemary are all still available but I've got a feeling, even though I've put straw around the rosemary, it's not long for this world. But what was wonderful, there on the ground where the coriander seeds had fallen was a batch of young cilantro. I clipped some cilantro and put it in my basket and went over to my lemon thyme and clipped a few tops off of it. One cannot imagine the pleasure of being so close to the earth.
I came in the house, put my apron on and went to it!!!! I don't know what I was thinking I just wanted to eat!!! I fixed Tilapia En Papillote. That is the fancy word for cooking in a bag with steam. You can use foil but one usually uses parchment paper. First I took my precious herbs and pulled the leaves off the stems then I minced them up real fine. Oh the pairing was perfect!! I took 1/2 of a lime and sliced it thin. I laid the Tilapia out on the paper, sprinkled the herbs on top, a little salt and pepper, some pats of butter, squeezed a little lime juice from the leftover half lime on top and then laid a couple slices of lime on top of each and wrapped up the Tilapia. I then put it in the oven to steam. I took the rest of the herbs, some mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper, lime juice and honey and made a dressing. I then put some olive oil in a pan and took some Swiss Chard that my son had given me out of his garden, cut the course stems out of each leaf and put the chard in the pan and added a tiny bit of water to just cook up a little. I had baked potatoes and sour cream as a side. So . . . when everything was finished I plated it up by putting the Swiss Chard down on the plate, putting the Tilapia on top and drizzling the dressing over it and then laying the potato down on the side. My husband took one bite and said, "Nina, this is the best Tilapia you've ever fixed". Oh, I couldn't believe it! You've got to understand, my husband is a man of few words and when he says something like that you stop and take note. (and he can't stand cilantro!!!)
Now that I've had time to think about it, the dish might have used some red pepper or some of those yummy capers, but it was pretty good as it stood. Anyway, the bottom line is, it was another one of my uh-oh's! I took down no measurements - I just cooked according to my gut. Now I've got to wait a few weeks and try it again, only this time write all measurements down. Am I a mess or what?!!!!! Oh well, after all that I finally got to curl up and stay warm.