Friday, January 20, 2012

walnut-crusted tilapia

This was the feast my mom and I conjointly prepared several nights ago. It was kind of fancy. We had wilted spinach sauteed in olive oil and garlic; walnut-crusted tilapia brushed with a mixture of light mayonnaise, Grey Poupon, and fresh chopped basil; baked Japanese yams; roasted kabocha squash; and finally a small helping of quinoa.

For those who are not in the know, Grey Poupon is one of those famous flagship Dijon mustard brands, like French's for yellow mustard, except Grey Poupon has much nicer packaging. It's made with brown mustard seed and white wine, which (fun fact from Wikipedia) "is produced in upstate New York under the supervision of a rabbi, to ensure that the product maintains its kosher status." So there you have it. Grey Poupon is at least partly if not wholly (wholly, holy, ha!) rabbi-certified kosher.

My dad discovered Grey Poupon when I was in the sixth grade. Incidentally, I decided to take French as an elective that year, and from that class I can only recall two things.

The first is that le mur (pronounced something like "leh me-uh") is French for "the wall."

The second is that behind every enjoyable foreign language class, there is always a teacher campaigning for a cultural food event.

For our end-of-year soiree, my mom helped me make pain au chocolat, which according to the recipe is basically a bunch of glorified croissants with Nutella inside. Another student brought in a dish made with Grey Poupon, presumably because Dijon mustard originated in France (in Dijon, France, to be precise). In response to this weird foreign dish, one of my classmates asked, "What is it? Gray poopoo?!" And so, ever since, I've mentally referred to Grey Poupon as Grey Poopoo.

Classy. And kosher!

Walnut-Crusted Tilapia
Adapted from Epicurious

2 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tbsp Grey Poupon
a small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
a pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups walnuts
4 filets of tilapia

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, Grey Poupon, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir well.

Optional: Toast walnuts on a pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes or until they smell fragrant. Coarsely chop walnuts or, alternatively, fill a Ziploc bag with walnuts and pound away using a heavy rolling pin. Spread walnuts onto a shallow dish.

Pat dry filets and coat each side with mayonnaise-mustard mixture. Press into crushed walnuts, coating each side.

Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until flaky.

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