Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pan Seared Tilapia with Thai Basil Dipping Sauce and Quinoa with Asian Greens, Leeks, and Shiitake Mushrooms

In May I spent a wonderful afternoon with a great group of volunteers digging up weeds, breaking up cement like soil, and laying compost for the Nurture Grow Your Own Food Garden.  Plots in the garden were given to families from the Northfield Township Food Pantry that completed programs with Nurture last year, and ten percent of the crops are donated to the food pantry.  The following week, seeds were planted and since then more volunteers have been working hard to help our plots flourish.

I am very fortunate to have my own plot and recently harvested enormous crops of Asian greens, also known as Mizuna and Red Asian Mustard Greens.  At first I used them as you would in a salad, with red peppers and a peanut dressing.  I thought they were delicious, but then read up on these mysterious greens and learned that they are most often cooked in a stir fry or as a warm, wilted salad.

Below is the recipe for Pan Seared Tilapia and Quinoa with Asian Greens, Leeks, and Shiitake Mushrooms that I tested tonight.  It was hit with the husband!  The children of course were less excited about our "fresh greens from the garden!", but still enjoyed the fish and quinoa.  The greens cooked up very nicely and I love the way the quinoa absorbs all of the rich flavor from the mushrooms and soy sauce, brown sugar, stock, and red pepper flakes added to the mix.  Really, the best part is knowing that a portion of our dinner came from our little plot at the Nurture Grow Your Own Food organic garden!  

Thank you to all of the hard working Nurture volunteers who have been sweating it out for the last few months.  I can't wait to see what we get to harvest next!

Pan Seared Tilapia with Thai Basil Dipping Sauce and Quinoa with Asian Greens, Leeks, and Shiitake Mushrooms

For the Tilapia:

4 Tilapia Filets
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon lime zest
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil

In a small bowl, combine chili pepper, coriander, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Rub mixture on all four Tilapia filets.  Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet on medium high heat.  Cook filets in pan for 3-4 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily.  In another small bowl, combine soy sauce, lime zest and juice, and basil.  Pour over cooked fish or serve on the side as a dipping sauce.  

For the Quinoa:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 leeks, whites and light green parts sliced thinly lengthways
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups asian greens, roughly chopped
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 - 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt and pepper
1-2 cups cooked quinoa

Rinse sliced leeks in a bowl with cold water to remove any dirt from inside.  Pat dry with a towel and add to olive oil heated in a large pan on medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, or until the leeks begin to look slightly translucent.  Add garlic and greens and saute for 1 minute.  Add soy sauce, brown sugar, stock, red pepper, sesame oil, and salt and pepper.  Cook covered for 3-5 minutes.  Add cooked quinoa and stir to combine.  Check for flavor and add more soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper, or salt and pepper if desired.  

For more information on Nurture and the Nurture Grow Your Own Food Garden, please visit the website at   

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