Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Florentine or Italian for Spinach Involved.

When a recipe has the name "Florentine" (pronounced "FLOR-en-teen"), or the term "√† la Florentine", as part of its name, it refers to a dish that is prepared in the style of Florence, Italy. In other words, it involves spinach as a main ingredient in the recipe; a sauce and/or cheese may also be used in the full creation of the dish.

So it came to pass that I found tilapia on sale, and as much as I enjoy simply baking it with lemon and dill, it was time to experiment.  I remembered having a Florentine type dish at a restaurant once, so decided I was going to make it from scratch.  Personally, I think I did a bang up job on it; with simple ingredients and prep work to boot.  Now I wonder, tilapia is such a mild flavored fish; how would this recipe work with salmon?


Tilapia Florentine
(Spinach Stuffed Tilapia)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. diced red bell pepper
6 tsp. olive oil 
4 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. Italian herbal mix
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 (6 oz. each) tilapia fillets

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375F; spray 1 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small skillet, medium-high heat, saut√© red bell pepper in two teaspoons of olive oil until softened; add in spinach, drizzle two teaspoons oil over leaves and cook until wilted. 

In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine egg, garlic, herbal mix, cheeses; gently fold in spinach mixture.  Cut slit into tilapia lengthwise (not all the way through); with tip of knife cut halfway into both sides of the fish to create a pocket.  Stuff half the mixture into each fillet; place into baking dish and drizzle remaining two teaspoons of oil over the fish.

Bake 20-25 minutes; until fish is flaky and filling is warm throughout. (Remember, I live at a higher altitude, so your baking time might be 15 to 20 minutes instead.)

Makes 2 servings.

Mary Cokenour