Herb-Crusted Tilapia With Lemon Butter Sauce

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You don't have to be an executive chef to expertly prepare herb crusted tilapia with lemon butter sauce. Make herb crusted tilapia with lemon butter sauce with help from a hospitality professor at University of New Haven in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Jeff Trombeta from the University of New Haven in Connecticut and today, we're going to make an herb crusted tilapia with a lemon butter sauce. So, the first step, is let's make our bread topping for the tilapia. These are Panko bread crumbs, nice, coarse grains. For herbs, we have chives, we're going to make this pretty herbal and chives are kind of sweet, oniony, but delicate. Our Fines Herbes, which is oregano, and basil chopped up, and a generous amount of parsley, which just gives it life and freshness, some salt and some cracked black pepper. We've got to blend this altogether. So, and how are we going to make it stick? We're going to use butter. We don't want to make it too wet, so just a little butter to moisten it. See, it's similar to a streusel topping, where we add melted butter to flour and sugar, it kind of sticks. What we want to do here, is brush our pan, o.k., not too much. Let's take our tilapia and lay them in there. It's going to be baked and just like that, put a line of that, we're going to press this down into the fish. You could do this with sole, cod. But remember, the thickness of the fish is going to dictate the temperature of the oven. The thinner the cut, then the higher temperature you can bake it. Because it'll cook quick, without overcooking the outside, before the center's cooked. So, we press that in, alright, give it a nice, a nice, firm crust. Now, we want to help it brown a little bit, so we're going to drizzle a little bit of butter, o.k., that'll help it brown. So, we're going to go right into our 400 degree oven and that'll cook quick. What we have here, is we're going to make a reduction, shallots and lemon juice. We're going to make sure there's no seeds. I tried to get out most of the seeds, we're going to pick that one out. And I want to show you how I cut the lemon to avoid most of the seeds, so I don't have to strain them. This is a Meyer lemon, that's why it almost looks orange. It's just a little different variety, these are from New Zealand, actually. But anyway, cut it, cut off the ends and then, cut it stem to tip, like that. Now, cut it into quarters. What I'm going to do, is I'm going to take out the center. You waste a little bit of the lemon, but it's worth it, look how clean that is. So, now, when I squeeze this quarter, which is a good piece, a good size to handle. It's easily squeezed and it won't fall out of my hand, and it'll be all pure juice. Now, I have my fresh lemon juice in my pan, make a little bit of a reduction here. A reduction means, I'm going to flavor it with some chopped shallots, I'm going to reduce the shallots with the lemon juice. And you could add a little wine, because when you use only lemon juice, you don't use that much because it's so strong flavored, that the shallots might not be cooked. So, you want it to have enough moisture or liquid to allow it to come down in time, where the shallots are actually cooked. I think, I could do without the wine, I have enough lemon juice in there. And as that's coming down, I'll go ahead and check my fish, and probably make it more brown under the broiler. So, our reduction is done, it's almost dry, the lemon juice and the shallots, and the shallots are probably tender. This is not a cream sauce, but I'm adding just adding a shot of cream, because that's going to help stabilize the butter. So, it's a butter sauce and we now, are going to need just a touch of salt and some white pepper. Because I don't want them to see black specks in there. See, how we're just stirring the butter. It's alright if it bubbles for a little bit, but don't let it continue to bubble. A little chive, and a little parsley and that'll help thicken it up and keep it tight. And we'll. we'll probably end up making, having to add more butter. That's basically a Beurre blanc, except it's made with lemon juice. Which many people make Beurre blancs with lemon juice and white wine. But a Beurre blanc is classically made with white wine, shallot reduction and, and put butter in. So, it's a nice, light sauce. Our fish is basically cooked, but I want to achieve a brown crust. So, I'll go right under the broiler, because I don't want to leave it in the oven and overcook the fish. Let's plate this herb crusted tilapia, we have some nice crust here. And it's a little small, I'm going to give them two, just like that. There's plenty of lemon here, but it looks nice and it shows the customer what it is. Let me see, if I could pour the sauce in the, the holes in plate, we call them. We don't want to, never cover, never, ever, ever cover a nice crust. These are some chive sticks, I call them, I just take the center cut of the chives and I kind of go like that. And I'm gong to take some these fresh sage leaves. Your garnish should have continuity, whatever's in the herb crust, then you could showcase it as a garnish. So, our herb crusted tilapia with a lemon butter herb sauce. And of course, we have to taste, make sure it's to our standards, and, nice and lemony, really fresh, very lemony. If you like lemon, you'll love this. I'm Chef Jeff Trombeta from the University of New Haven in Connecticut.


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