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The Seafood Diet

It's the old joke - I'm on the seafood diet....I see food, I eat it! Yes, very funny....but, seriously, now that the warmer weather is upon us, it is time to lighten up our meals, eat healthier than in winter, and shed those "winter leg warmers", ahem. So, although I did not have a recipe for this, I was reminded of a lovely fish with Cajun shrimp sauce that Dear Husband and I devoured on a sightseeing trip to Nevada. Here is my version of that dish. I thawed some individually-wrapped tilapia fillets in the refrigerator all day....

Then, began a roux. Now, I do not play by the "roux rules" - I refuse to stand there and stir the entire time, in other words. What I do, is begin with equal parts of flour and vegetable oil in a skillet....

Whisk this together, and simply cook on very low heat, until dark roux has formed. We will check on the roux in a moment....I also thawed about 1/2 dozen shrimp, removed the shells, and tails, deveined them, and put them back in the fridge for our shrimp sauce.

As I continued to prep the supper, I returned to the roux and gave it a whisk about every five minutes or so.....see, getting darker all the time!

Then, I took a wee bit of celery and onion...

And cut it into very small dice, for our shrimp sauce. Yes, I know I'm supposed to have bell pepper in there, to achieve the true "trinity" of New Orleans cooking...but, guess what? I simply did not have any in the house! Rather than throw my hands up in the air and give up on making the dish at all, I just proceeded without it. I think we'll live. On to the very small dice...

When we add this to the roux, we want it to cook until tender, so these vegetables just melt into the sauce. Now, for a nice, fresh accompaniment, I took a large, beefsteak-type tomato, sliced it, and added salt, pepper, some extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I then finely chopped a little basil and parsley over the top for our healthy side dish.

Then, I took the thawed tilapia fillets, patted them dry with paper towels, and seasoned on both sides with some Cajun seasoning. Not too heavy, now - we want flavor, we don't want our heads to spontaneously combust! Bring some water to a boil, and cook some pasta to serve the fish on...I chose tiny rice-shaped orzo, but any short pasta will do. Drain your pasta, and keep it ready...because the fish cooks quickly...

Let's go back and see how dark our roux is.....remember, in between steps, and whilst on extremely low heat, I'm whisking the oil and flour about every five minutes..

Yes, there it is, a nice, dark, caramel-colored roux. Time to add the celery and onion, and keep cooking until tender...

Once the vegetables are tender, add the shrimp, chopped...

Then, add the following; about a tablespoon of butter, two tablespoons of half and half, a quarter cup of water, some paprika, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, (just a dash), and a little tarragon or parsley for color - presto! We have a Cajun shrimp sauce!

Turn the sauce back to a very low temperature, and let it rest, whisking every once in a while. In the meantime, brush a little extra-virgin olive oil on to a grill pan or skillet, get it to medium high heat, and grill your tilapia fillets....

Grill them, presentation-side down, so that when you flip them, the side that is up, is also the side that will be facing up when you plate them. Flip them after about three minutes, and grill for about three minutes longer...

Now, slice up your tomato salad, so that serving is easy, spoon your pasta down on to the plate, place a tilapia fillet on the pasta, add your tomato salad, and ladle the shrimp sauce over the top.....the results?

Let me put it this way, when I was clearing the dishes from supper, I went to put the third piece of fish into the refrigerator - thinking that perhaps I would make fish tacos or something as leftovers......and it was gone! Dear Husband went back and finished it off! Although I did not use an actual recipe for this, you can email me at allymv@yahoo.com and I will create one, and send it to you.

The moral of this fish tale is that although the shrimp sauce was rich - it's richness did not come from a lot of high-fat, or unhealthy ingredients, the dish tasted fantastic, and we felt light and healthy enough after consuming it, to go work in the Pixie-patch...which is shaping up quite nicely this year! See?

Eat well, my friends, and stay tuned for our next "Something From Nothing", and a visit from those fun sisters, the Kitchen Angels.

Love and kindness to all,

Pixie

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