Sunday, April 13, 2014

Brigante with Tilapia, Shallots, Spring Herbs, and Fusilli

One of my latest cookbook purchases is a book solely devoted to macaroni and cheese. If this recipe is any indication, it was a good, cheesy investment. A few notes on substitutions. She calls for Brigante cheese which I couldn't find and suggests substitutes of San Andreas (from Cowgirl Creamery which should've been easy for me to find, but was not!), Berkswell, Shepherd's Way Friesago, or Young Mahon. I ended up using a firm sheep milk cheese as recommended by the ever helpful cheese people at Bi-Rite. Usually, I just want to ponder the cheeses without being interrupted, but this time their friendliness worked to my advantage! For the tilapia, any white fish would work. I used some sole that we had in the freezer. She also suggests that you could use shrimp. Finally, for the herbs, I forgot that I actually needed tarragon and chevril for this recipe. Instead, I used a mix of mostly dill with a bit of parsley and marjoram. Feel free to mix up the herbs, but definitely make sure you get a bit of anise flavor in there as it works very well with the cheese and fish and cuts the richness a little. I would also consider upping the herbs to about 1/4 cup total, but I've been obsessed with adding more fresh herbs to dishes lately.

One year ago: Mustard Paste Smothered Cod and Mushrooms
Two years ago: Skillet-roasted Potatoes and Turnips
Three years ago: Sesame Chicken
Four years ago: Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Brigante with Tilapia, Shallots, Spring Herbs, and Fusilli (from Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese)
4 tbsp butter, divided
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
4 tsp chopped chervil
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 small tilapia fillets, ~1/2 lb
8 ounces fusilli
2 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
7 ounces Brigante, rind removed, grated
lemon wedges to garnish

1. In a saute pan, melt 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft.
2. Add tarragon, chevril, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add wine. Cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has cooked off, 2 minutes.
4. Transfer shallots and herbs to a small bowl and return pan to stove.
5. In same saute pan, add 1 tbsp butter and turn heat to medium. Saute tilapia for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to bowl, shred with forks, and set aside.
6. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente, drain, and set aside.
7. Heat milk in small saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to steam, turn off heat.
8. Place remaining 2 tbsp butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until roux begins to form light brown color, 3 minutes.
9. Slowly add milk and stir until sauce thickens.
10. Lower heat to medium-low, add salt, pepper, and sauteed shallots and herbs.
11. Remove from heat and add cheese to sauce, stirring until melted.
12. In large bowl, add pasta to cheese sauce and toss to coat. Fold in shredded fish, and serve with lemon wedges.

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