I've come to really enjoy getting to know the guys at the fish counter at my grocery store - they're great at letting me know which fish is particularly good or for suggesting substitutions if the fish called for in a recipe isn't available. In this case, I substituted cod for tilapia, with excellent results. The fish here is pretty basic but delicious - baked with just salt, pepper, lime, and a bit of butter. The only trick is to make sure to add the lime juice just before popping it into the oven so that the acid doesn't start 'cooking' the fish ahead of time. The simple baked fish is paired with extra-exciting rice. I have to say, I'm a disaster when it comes to cooking rice. I've even been known to mess it up in the rice maker, and when it comes to stovetop rice - forget about it! However, this recipe turned out perfectly despite some errors along the way (I only added half the amount of liquid and had to add extra part of the way through cooking!). The rice was tender and fluffy with a subtle sweetness from the orange juice, crunch from the cashews and bell peppers, and the nice surprise of bits of juicy tangerine. Leftover rice made a great lunch the next day after stirring in some chickpeas and roasted cauliflower.
Baked Cod with Orange-Cashew Rice (adapted from mel's kitchen cafe, original recipe here)
For the rice:
3/4 cup water
1/4 orange juice
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1/2 T olive oil
Generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/3 cup roasted cashew pieces
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
2 green onions, minced
1 orange or large mandarin, supremed (I used a Sumo citrus)
For the fish:
2 cod fillets
Salt and black pepper
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime (if juicy - use more if needed)
1 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly oil.
2. Combine the water, orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir to combine. Return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 20-25 minutes, until the rice is cooked through and the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat, leaving on the cover, and let stand for 5-10 minutes (or until the rest of the recipe is finished).
3. Meanwhile, prepare the fish. Season both sides of each fillet with salt and pepper and then sprinkle with the lime zest. Right before popping in the oven, squeeze the lime juice over, and then top each piece with two small pieces of butter. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through.
4. Just before serving, remove the cover from the rice and fluff with a fork. Add the cashews, bell peppers, green onions, and mandarin pieces and gently stir to combine. Taste and add salt if needed.
5. Divide the rice among two plates. Gently transfer the fish to the plates. Serve immediately.