Right after I graduated college, I worked for a law firm where I was one of the youngest employees by far. Most of the time I half-way listened to the lunch room conversation while I flipped through magazines or read a book. But one day they were discussing the new (at the time) movie Super Size Me. Intrigued by the concept of the film, I decided to join in. Now, I don’t remember anything that I said, but I do remember quite clearly what one of my co-irkers said: “Every day in high school I ate McDonald’s for breakfast and sometimes lunch, too, and look at me. I’m fine.” No one had much of a comeback to this because from the looks of it she was, with the exception of about 20 extra pounds. And none of us were super models so we kept that obvious fact to ourselves. But, I kid you not, no less than 7 days later Ms. Fast Food Is Fine had to have an emergency surgery to remove her gallbladder. Call it coincidence if you will, but I think sometimes the gods can’t resist an opportunity to make you eat your words.
And recently I got to feast on my own annoying statements. Until around the first of the year, I was one of those annoying people who used to unabashedly boast, “Oh I never get sick!” Then I was hit with two nasty colds/viruses–one right before new years and one last week. For awhile I’ve been pretending that parading around my good health didn’t jinx me. Instead I blamed my illnesses on kids, contaminated airplane air, being run down from too much travel, pushing myself by exercising while on vacation (the thanks I get for trying to stay healthy! see if I do that again…), etc. Now I know it was Karma smiting me as she sometimes does when I get too high and mighty. Kinda like Ms. Fast Food is Fine.
So…that’s a really long way of explaining why I haven’t been cooking (or posting) much lately. But I do have a delightful fish recipe that I’ve been meaning to share for some time. It’s super simple, very tasty and (as it hails from the terrific cooks at Cooking Light), it’s quite good for you too. Just be sure to use smoked paprika, because it really does make the dish. My local gourmet market (Central Market) has a fantastic bulk spice section where I can buy as much or as little of a spice as I want. And recipes like this one are what make CM invaluable to me. Because really, what would I do with a full ounce of smoked paprika? Anyway, search out a similar place in your neck of the woods, get some smoky paprika and give this dish a try.
P.S.–I did make the polenta too, but because I wasn’t paying attention it got all lumpy. And if there’s anything that doesn’t photograph well it’s lumpy polenta. But it sure tasted good. A great accompaniment to the smoky fish.
Grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika & Parmesan Polenta
4 cups fat-free milk
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
To prepare polenta, bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese; cover and keep warm.
To prepare the fish, heat a large nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine oil, paprika, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a bowl, stirring well. Rub fish evenly with oil mixture. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.