Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lemon Oregano Tilapia Stuffed Tomato with Tangy Pomegranate Honey Cole Slaw

Tomato season is here!

     Being a seasonal chef does have its benefits.  I used to write seasonal menus and often I would rewrite a menu for items that had a short season, so they would featured.  After the short growing season, I moved on to to writing the next menu.  Constantly evolving seasonal menus never get old and tired.  There is always something new and exciting to offer!
     The Executive Chef Teacher at chef school was raving about harvesting the first tomato of the season from her garden this week.  People with green thumbs everywhere will soon have tomatoes coming out of their ears, so it is a good time of the season to post some tomato recipes.
     I have posted a few stuffed tomato recipes in this food blog in the past.  Today, I wanted to post a stuffed tomato that had no mayonnaise or sour cream in the recipe.  The goal was a lighter stuffed tomato that still had great flavor.  
     I did not want to drench the tomato with a vinaegrette, so I chose to create a complimentary flavored slaw as a bed for the tomato to set upon.  What flavor?  Decisions, decisions.  I had just picked up a bottle of Arabic Persian pomegranate molasses at the International Food Market in Las Vegas earlier.  I had success at making salad dressings with pomegranate molasses in the past.  
     Pomegranate molasses is not exactly what you would call sweet in flavor.  Pomegranate molasses is a middle eastern cooking additive that has a very nice tangy pomegranate flavor, with just enough sweetness to keep the sauce from being bitter in taste.  Technically, it is a molasses in a way, but pomegranate molasses is really a sauce of its own.  The Arabic languages may have a better description of this sauce that may not translate well into English.  There is also pomegranate syrup and pomegranate water, but neither of those liquid flavorings have the pronounced tangy flavor. 
     The tangy flavor of pomegranate molasses is a natural for a light refreshing summertime cole slaw flavor.  The tangy pomegranate cole slaw bed for the stuffed tomato adds an interesting exotic contrast of flavor for the tomato and lemon oregano flavor of the tilapia! 

     Tangy Pomegranate Honey Cole Slaw Recipe:   
     Place 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses into a mixing bowl.  (Pomegranate molasses is a one of a kind product that can be found in middle eastern markets.)
     Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
     Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of dried mint.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Add 1 large handful of savoy cabbage.
     Add a few very thin slivers of carrot for color.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Set the tangy pomegranate honey cole slaw aside for 5 minutes.

     Lemon Oregano Tilapia Marinade:
     Place 1 generous squeeze of lemon juice into a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Cut 4 to 6 ounces of tilapia filet into 3/8" wide strips.
     Cut the tilapia strips into bite size pieces.
     Marinate the tilapia filet pieces in the mixture for 5 minutes.

     Lemon Oregano Tilapia:
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add1 tiny splash of olive oil.
     Remove the tilapia pieces from the marinade and add them to the hot oil.  (Save the marinade for later in the recipe!)
     Saute till the tilapia is halfway cooked.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced bermuda onion.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of green onion.
     Add the reserved lemon oregano tilapia marinade.
     Saute, till the tilapia pieces are fully cooked.
     Keep the lemon oregano tilapia warm on a stove top.

     Lemon Oregano Tilapia Stuffed Tomato with Tangy Pomegranate Honey Cole Slaw:
     Place a bed of tangy pomegranate honey cole slaw on the center of a plate.
     Place the 1 large Roma tomato on a cutting board with the stem core facing down.
     Star cut the Roma tomato, so it can be fanned out into a flower shape for stuffing.  Only cut each vertical slice 1/2" short of meeting the core base of the tomato.
     Carefully fan the tomato petals out, so the tomato resembles a flower.
     Set the tomato flower on the bed of tangy pomegranate honey cole slaw.
     Carefully spoon the lemon oregano tilapia pieces onto the tomato flower.
     Garnish the plate with Italian parsley leaves.
     Garnish the tilapia stuffing with chiffonade cut Arabic Persian pickled lemon zest.

     Viola!  A light healthy stuffed tomato entree that is like no other!  This is a great tasting summertime stuffed tomato recipe for those prized home garden tomatoes.

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