Have you ever had a crush on a book? Don’t laugh but I have a crush on this book. It is gorgeous, smart, well-written, and has spectacular pictures. See? Crush!!
Jill Hough, in her follow up to “100 perfect pairings: small plates to enjoy with the wines you love” has written a well-thoughtout book “100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love.”
So I have to admit that usually when books show up that have a wine element, I am very hesitant to open them. I don’t know a lot about wine and many books make me feel like I know even less! But Jill’s book did not intimidate me, in fact, the friendly nature of the writing made me want to read more.
Now, the dishes.. really are wonderful. The tilapia I chose to feature here has become a big hit with my family! The skillet roasted chicken breast with lavender was another hit in our house!
And now I am giving away a copy of this lovely book! To win: please go to FB and “LIKE” this page (if you do not have a social media account, you can skip this step.. we run on the honor system here!) and then leave a comment here as to why you want to win this book. I will select a winner at 4:30 EST today. US and Canadian residents only please.
Tilapia with Gazpacho Salsa
From the Rosé chapter of “100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, 2011)
Here’s everything you love about the cold Spanish soup in a chunky salsa, whose bright, varied flavors are a nice counterpoint to the sweeter, more delicate fish (look for domestic tilapia for a sustainable seafood choice). If you have leftovers, serve the salsa on top of slices of toasted bread as gazpacho bruschetta.
4 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press or minced
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika (see note below)
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, or more to taste
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 small cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup pitted good-quality black olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Six 6-ounce tilapia fillets, about 3/4 inch thick
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, paprika, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, whisking to dissolve the salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Set aside. (You can prepare the dressing up to 3 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)
In a medium bowl, combine the tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, olives, and parsley. Add the dressing and toss gently. Taste, ideally with your wine, and add more vinegar, salt, and/or black pep per if you like. (You can prepare the salsa up to a day in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)
In each of two large nonstick skillets over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle the fish with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Add 3 fillets to each skillet and cook until well browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (If you don’t have two large nonstick skillets, cook the fish in batches.)
Serve the fish hot, with the salsa on top.
NOTE Smoked paprika is available in the spice section of most major supermarkets and at specialty food stores. Besides using it in this recipe, you can use it in rubs and stirred into salsa, soups, stews, and sauces.
FOOD + WINE TIP If your Rosé is very dry and your tomatoes are very sweet, you might notice your wine tastes a bit sour. Simply sprinkle a little salt over your food, or drizzle it with a little lemon juice or vinegar, and things should come into balance.
Gorgeous photo of tilapia by Sala Kannan