Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Taste of Transitions

Fall is coming on fast.  Or at least is trying to – like a quarreling lover attempting to get his (or is it her?) foot firmly planted in Summer’s shutting door (I'm not sure I like the analogy, but it'll do for now). 

Yes?  No.  Hot.  Then, cold. Then, not hot.  Then, not cold.

Now, all this indecision is starting to make me feel conflicted too.  I've been told that transitions are rarely smooth, but now that I give it some serious thought, I can honestly say that I've never met a transition I truly liked. 

Always bumpy and unpleasant, I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that they're actually meant to be that way.  Transitions seem to be the universe’s way of shaking things up when they’ve become too comfortable, or uncomfortable, as the case may be.  I get it. 

But even though the weather’s a’ changing, that doesn't mean that I have to give up on summer just yet, without a fight.  I can still savor its flavors and if you follow my instructions, you can too.

So, first off, what says summer to you?

To me, summer is spelled L-I-M-E. Bright, tart, flashy and attention-getting.  It's all summer swagger.  And as for the heat, well, we’ll just have to take it up a notch, as Chef Emeril Lagasse so often says. And how’ll we do that?

Maybe with some tequila.  Now that's a beverage that’s all about heat.  No grapes to stomp, no rye, corn or wheat to ferment. This famous liquor of Mexico, for those of you who don't know, was born in the land of hot, searing sun for a reason.  In fact, it just couldn't exist without it.  A very long time ago, some enterprising soul, who hoped to capture the sun’s swelter in a glass, made a mash from the core of the desert’s prickly agave plant and distilled it into - you guessed it - liquid fire.

So, with our tequila sizzle and our flashy lime, we’ll be able to make some summer magic just as autumn begins to open its arms wide. 

For a taste of transitions, try this one on for size –


Serves 2 – 4

4 basa swai fillets
kosher salt
black pepper (freshly cracked, preferred)
⅓ cup tequila
juice of 1 large lime
½ cup apple juice
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon lime zest

Preheat oven to 325°F and set rack to mid-oven.
Pat fish dry with paper towels, then season both sides lightly with the kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Shingle the fillets in an oven proof casserole or baking dish.
Combine the tequila, lime juice, apple juice and sugar in a small bowl. 
Stir well to dissolve the sugar, before pouring the mixture over the fish.
Slide the casserole into the oven and bake uncovered for 25 - 30 minutes until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 140°F (the fish will be opaque and flake easily with a fork).

Serve the fillets over Israeli or traditional couscous mixed with the remaining ½ teaspoon of lime zest.  Spoon the Apple Tequila Lime pan sauce over each portion & accompany each serving with additional lime wedges.

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