Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Prosciutto Wrapped Tilapia with Basil Brown Butter

I recently saw Ina Garten wrap a slice of prosciutto around a piece of bass and I thought that trick would work with a fish that I'll actually eat.  So Prosciutto Wrapped Tilapia with Basil Brown Butter was born.  I only wish this looked as delicious as it was

I recently read The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn and highly recommend it to anyone interested in cooking.  Ms. Flinn, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu turned a chance encounter in a grocery store one evening into an experiment to see if she could teach nine intrepid home cooks the basic skills necessary to gain confidence and the desire to become better cooks.  As much as I enjoyed reading the book for the sake of enjoyment, it forced me to reevaluate my own shopping and cooking habits.

One of the lasting takeaways for me has been to shop at home first.  I've made statements and set goals about wasting less food here before but the reality is I still throw away an obscene amount of food.  Putting more thought into what I have on hand and what I can do with it rather than running out to the grocery for an item or, as often happens, picking up takeout, has resulted in me being more creative and ultimately finding more enjoyment in the kitchen.

I had a few slices of prosciutto left from another recipe which often goes bad before I find a second use for it.  Even the less expensive prosciutto is an expensive ingredient and it shouldn't go to waste.  Ina's recipe was the perfect excuse to use it up.  She uses rosemary in her butter, but my rosemary didn't survive the recent heat wave/drought but my basil was flourishing so in it went.  I don't know about you but making on the fly substitutions like this make me feel more empowered in the kitchen.  

This was such a quick and easy dish.  Simply season the fish, wrap the prosciutto around it and bake for a few minutes.  Finish with a quick browned butter using the herb of your choice and a squirt of lemon.  And you're done!  The prosciutto keeps the fish moist while adding flavor.  Browned butter is a gift from the kitchen gods and especially so when some fresh basil is added.  Easy, elegant, and delicious!
Prosciutto Wrapped Tilapia with Basil Brown Butter
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Ina Garten

Olive oil
4 tilapia fillets
4 thin slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place a baking rack on top of the foil.  Drizzle each side of the tilapia fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap each piece of fish with a slice of prosciutto around the center of the fillet, overlapping and tucking the ends under the fish.   Place the fish, seam side down, on the baking rack and roast for 10 minutes or until just cooked.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan.  Add the basil and cook over low heat until the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes.  It will foam and then turn and nutty brown color.  Be careful not to burn the butter.  Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and then pour over the fish. 
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  1. I have a few fillets left of a freezer pack of tilapia I bought because it was such a good bargain. Tilapia is so reasonably-priced compared with other fish it always tempts me, but I find it very bland. This looks like a wonderful way to 'spice it up.' I like bass, actually, but don't often see it at the fish counter where I live, or it's too pricey.

  2. I just wanted to drop a note to let you know that I think that this picture is fabulous! :-)

  3. Such a great idea to pair the prosciutto with fish. This sounds so great!


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