Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whole baked tilapia with potatoes, fennel, and sausage

The centerpiece of Saturday's dinner party was whole baked tilapia with potatoes, fennel, and two kinds of sausage. One whole fish per person, plus wine. Not including the wine, here's what I spent:

One package of 8 frozen whole tilapia at Sam's Club: $12.78
One bulb of fennel: $2.34
Several potatoes, from a 10-lb bag (cost of 10 lbs: $3 at Aldi): 50 cents?
One package of alligator sausage, the last from our New Orleans trip: $4.99
One package of andouille sausage: $3.99
One 2-lb block of feta at Sam's Club, for the appetizer: $8.79, and I used half, so let's say 4.79
Part of a jar of roasted red peppers: maybe 50 cents
One duck breast, for duck proscuitto, for appetizer: $4.79
Ingredients for dried apricot and pistachio ice cream, for dessert: less than $5, including cream

For a grand total of $39.68. Less than $40, to feed 8 people. Awesome.

Now, on to the fish recipe:

I used this recipe from Saveur as a starting point. I substituted tilapia for the red snapper, and used the same amount of stuff (potatoes, fennel, sausage), only for 8 fish instead of one. I lined two roasting pans with foil, laid four tilapia in each one, and scattered potatoes, fennel, uncooked sausage, and a few lemon slices for good measure around each pan. I threw in a couple of cans of canned clams, with juice, instead of the whole clams. Generous sprinkling of salt, and a drizzle of dry vermouth (since I didn't have any white wine). I roasted for 45 minutes (since there were 8 fish instead of 1).

1 large bulb fennel
Kosher salt, to taste
1 lb.  potatoes, in chunks
7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. fresh linguiƧa or kielbasa, cut into 1⁄4"-thick slices (I added another 1 lb of alligator sausage)
8 cleaned whole tilapia2 lemons, sliced 1⁄2 cup white wine or dry vermouth

2 cans of clams, with juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes until half-cooked and drain.  Heat oven to 475˚.  Line a baking sheet  (or two) with an 18" x 24" sheet of heavy-duty foil. Transfer fish to foil. Stuff cavities of fish with fennel fronds. Roughly slice fennel bulb, and arrange fennel, potatoes, sausages, and clams around fish; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with wine. Put an 18" x 24" piece of foil over top. Crimp edges together to form a packet. 
Roast for 35–40 minutes. Cut into foil; carefully pull back edges.  Serve.

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