Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alameda Sunday and Fish with Fresh Pea Puree

Today was a good Sunday. After a rousing night of sake and karaoke with friends on Friday, Nic and I took it easy Saturday night and woke up this morning with a bound. We made breakfast (recipe to come) and packed up our gym bags for a little day trip across the Bay Bridge. We were headed to the Alameda Harbor Bay Club: a gym/tennis/swim club across the bay from which I had recently bought a travelzoo voucher for 2 1-hour messages plus a full day pass to the pool, gym and facilities for only $48 person. Not bad right? I figured massages alone would be worth the $48 and if the gym was halfway decent we could work out and hang by the pool afterwards. Before today we had only been to Alameda for its amazing flea market so it was fun to see a bit more of the island which is a very cute suburb.

The harbor club is nice. It's not too fancy but the staff was friendly, the gym was big and well appointed and the locker rooms each had large whirlpools, saunas and single-sex sun decks. We worked out, had our massages (awesome), and then hung out in the outdoor coed whirlpool soaking in the sun. We could have hung out there all day but alas we can never seem to go more than a few hours without food and we needed to leave for lunch!

I yelped a tasty looking greek cafe called Troy and we headed to downtown Alameda to eat there. The food was great and the downtown area of Alameda is very charming. We walked around and found an amazing little asian snack shop called Quickly where Nic got himself a Barley bubble milk tea with soy milk. Sounds awesome, right? No??? Well it was. After one sip I got myself one too. It kind of tasted like a mild iced soy chai latte with little bits of tasty grains in it. Different but very refreshing.

On our way out of town we hit up a little perma-farm stand called Dan's Produce and picked up fresh and inexpensive veggies for dinner. I had been planning to make some scallops (since I like them and never cook them) and when I was brainstorming what to make with them, Nic, who has clearly been paying attention during Top Chef lately, mentioned a pea puree. I googled pureed peas and saw a few recipes using parmesan and fresh mint so we picked up those at the market with the fresh peas (in pods.) Unfortunately the store had no fresh scallops so I settled for some tilapia filets instead.

I don't mean to brag BUT dinner was preeeettty delicious--- I winged the puree with our awesome Cuisinart and it turned out delicious... fresh peas are tasty! I coated the tilapia with cornmeal to give it a little crunch and we ended up not missing the scallops at all. We topped the meal off with a little color from some fresh radishes. This meal has a couple more steps than my usual go-tos but if you have a food processor the puree is really simple and turns out delicious. Here are all the steps to make it yourself...

Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia with Fresh Pea Puree and Roasted Radishes
Ingredients: Makes 2 servings
For the Pea Puree
-1 cup fresh peas (I got the shelled kind. You could probably use frozen but if you can find fresh, do it!)
-1 small shallot chopped
-1/2 cup mint leaves - chop up
-2 tablespoons grated parmesan
-2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Fish
-3 Tilapia filets (2 for Nic, 1 for me)
-2 tablespoons corn meal
-Salt and Pepper

For the Radishes
-6-7 Radishes - slice thinly
-Salt and Pepper

Timing if you're making this whole dish:
-Clean and slice the radishes first, put them in the oven or toaster
-Make the puree
-Cook the fish
-Radishes should be done by now
-Serve, eat and enjoy!

Making the puree...
-Boil a small pot of water and boil the peas for a few minutes until they are soft and taste ready to eat.
-Put a pan over medium high heat and spray with Pam, throw in the shallot and saute for a few minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the peas (once they are done boiling.)
-Saute the peas with the shallots and sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
-Once the shallots are just turning golden the peas and shallots are done -- put them in the cuisinart.
-Add the mint and parmesan to the cuisinart plus one more tablespoon of olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt.
-Blend everything together until it is pureed. It should be warm and delicious.

Making the fish...
-Season the fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Put the cornmeal on a plate and coat the filets in it.
-Put a pan over medium-high heat (you can use the same pan you just used for the peas) and spray it with Pam.
-Cook the fish on each side for a few minutes until the middle is white (cooked through)

Making the radishes...
-Put your toaster oven or regular oven to 500 degrees (we use our toaster oven because it heats up faster.)
-Clean the radishes thoroughly
-Slice the radishes into thin slices. If you have a mandolin slicer, use that, it makes this nice and easy :)
-Pour 1 spoonful of olive oil over the radishes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with lots of salt and a little pepper.
- Cook in the toaster or oven for 20 minutes or until they are soft and the thinner ones are turning golden.

Put a scoop of puree on the plate and then put the fish fillet on with a side of radishes.
If you followed the directions above you should have a delicious and colorful plate of food!