French for “Delicioso”April 9, 2010
The Mouse House Kitchen revealed its terrific pesto recipe quite a while ago, but we recently came across a pesto with a nice twist (courtesy of the Hannaford Supermarket), resulting in a light, delicious dish. This pesto is made with cilantro instead of basil, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) instead of pine nuts, and a lot of lemon flavor. The zippy cilantro matches really well with the sour citrus of the lemon, and the pumpkin seeds and parmesan cheese bind it together nicely. This was our first time cooking “en papillote,” French for “in parchment.” If you don’t have parchment paper already, don’t bother – using aluminum foil works just fine. This method of cooking allows all the flavors to really blend, and they penetrate the rice quite well. Just make sure you allow enough time to have cooked rice on hand. Enjoy!
Tilapia with Pepita-Cilantro Pesto en Papillote
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, packed
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, unsalted, shelled
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 large or 8 small tilapia filets (about 1½ lbs. total)
2 cups rice, cooked
1 lemon, sliced into 8 round slices
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare pesto: place cilantro and pumpkin seeds in a food processor. Pulse a few times until coarsely minced. Add cheese, pepper, and lemon zest and pulse again until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add lemon juice and oil to the mixture while pulsing, until fully combined and smooth. The pesto will be thick, like a paste. Scoop the pesto into a large bowl. Add tilapia filets to pesto and spread a thick layer on the top of each piece, coating evenly. Cut parchment paper or foil into four 18-inch long pieces. In the middle of each piece, place ½ cup cooked rice and 1 or 2 tilapia filets. Place a lemon slice on top of each filet. Fold the paper or foil in half, covering the fish, and crimp the edges all around to seal the packet. If using parchment paper, it may help to secure the edges using a metal paper clip. Place pouches on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Open one packet to check doneness: fish should flake easily with a fork. Transfer each packet to a dinner plate and serve immediately, instructing diners to be careful of the steam as they peel back the paper. Eat!