Lemon Zest and Vinegar Zing

One of the things I enjoy most about cooking is the experiment, the adaptation, trial and error to see how what I think will work actually creates something delectable. Last night was a good night of results. I took Bobby Flay’s Sautéed Kale recipe and the Six O’Clock Scramble recipe for Flounder with lemony bread crumb topping and adapted them based on my ingredients and taste preferences. The result? Sharp lemon punches and zingy vinegar-soaked swiss chard, offest by soft white fish and crunchy breadcrumbs.

The Penney-fied versions of these recipes, and an interesting NYT article on Tilapia, the “aquatic chicken” of the food industry:

Lemon Crumb Crusted Tilapia
3 frozen tilapia fillets
1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup dried dill
2 lemons
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 TBS dijon mustard
3 TBS olive oil
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set frozen fillets on foil. Set baking sheet on top of oven as it preheats.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, oil, dill, juice of 1 1/2 lemons, garlic, salt and mustard. Mix well.
3. Place the fillets on the baking sheet and press equal amounts of the bread-crumb mixture onto the top of each one. Bake until the fish is white and flakes easily in the center, about 12-15 minutes if still frozen. For a browner topping, broil for an additional 2 minutes at the end of cooking. Serve with remaining 1/2 lemon wedges.

Tangy Swiss Chard
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped up roughly (the bright red stems on dark green make it festive for a holiday dish)

Swiss Chard - holiday colors

3 TBS olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp rice vinegar
salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and dash of salt, and cook until soft, but not colored.
2. Raise heat to high, add broth and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Remove cover and continue to cook for 1 minute. Stir in vinegar and cook another minute. Salt and pepper to taste.
Note: This serves 2 people as it wilts down to nearly nothing. Increasing the amount of swiss chard will likely require additional cooking time.

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