Pan Seared Tilapia with Kaffir Lime Leaf Infused Coconut Milk Sauce with Smashed Weiser Farms Laker Bakers


 

I wish I had a lot to say about the Kaffir lime leaf.  But it is pretty simple, the Kaffir lime leaf comes from the Kaffir lime tree. The Kaffir lime leaf was one part of the citrus experience I had been missing.  To be honest, I never knew it existed to even be missed.  And I have to admit, I was a little excited when this Farmer's Market Challenge was exactly that, the kaffir lime leaf.  I knew the best use of this odd looking leaf, it looks like two leaves that are attached, would be to infuse it into something.  My first two thoughts were either ice cream or a sauce.  
Kaffir lime leaves are most often used in Thai cooking, and there were some delicious looking Laker Baker Potatoes over at the Weiser Farm booth so my recipe had been inspired.  I wanted to make a Thai style coconut sauce infused with the kaffir lime leaves and serve it with the potatoes.  Fish was sounding good and always goes well with citrus flavors, and I wanted something on the delicate side so I went with Tilapia.  
I hope you enjoy my creation!
 
 

Pan Seared Tilapia with Kaffir Lime Leaf Infused Coconut Milk Sauce with Smashed Weiser Farms Laker Bakers

Serves 2
Ingredients:
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  4 oz. tilapia fillets
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper
  • 4 tbsp canola oil (divided) 
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk (I recommend the full fat version . . . you also want a can that you don't hear move around inside when you turn it upside down)
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves (see note at bottom of page)
  • The juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp honey (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp sliced fresh basil
  • 6 medium laker baker potatoes or any medium sized red or heirloom potato will do
Instructions:
  1. Put a pot of salted water on and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes or until just barely done, but still relatively firm.  
  2. While the potatoes cook, coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat until good and hot.
  3. Season the tilapia with salt and pepper, and place into the skillet.  You want to hear the sizzle.  Let the tilapia cook for 3-4 minutes or until it releases easily from the skillet and then flip the tilapia over and let cook another 3 minutes or so.  Remove the tilapia from the pan, put it on a plate and wrap the plate with foil to keep the tilapia warm.  
  4. Add 1 tbsp of the canola oil to the pan.  Add the garlic and ginger and saute for about 30 seconds until softened and fragrant.  Add the coconut milk and stir to scrape up any brown bits and combine the garlic, ginger and coconut milk.  Add the Kaffir lime leaves, the lime juice and zest and stir to combine.  Let the sauce come to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the coconut milk reduce until it becomes a thick sauce.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Taste the sauce and add the honey and sugar if the sauce is too tart from the lime.  Since fresh limes will have different levels of tart and sweetness, you will have to add the honey and sugar to taste.  Some limes will need more than others.  Return the tilapia to the pan and let the tilapia cook in the sauce for a few minutes.  Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm while you finish the potatoes.   
  5. To finish the potatoes, remove them from the boiling water and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.  Put a clean towel on your work surface and place the potato in the center of the towel. Cover the potato with half of the towel and press the potato with the palm of your hand until the potato flattens and the skin breaks, but the potato itself should stay intact.  Set the potato aside and finish the rest of the potatoes.
  6. Once you have done that with all of the potatoes, heat the remaining canola oil in a skillet and pan fry the potatoes so the skins get nice and crispy and the insides are hot.  Cook the potatoes for about 2-3 minutes and then flip the potatoes and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove the potatoes from the skillet and place on a paper towel to drain some of the excess grease.  Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper and place three of them on each plate.  Place the tilapia on top of the potatoes and spoon the sauce over the tilapia and the potatoes.  Sprinkle the dish with the basil.  Enjoy!!
NOTE:  you can make this dish without the Kaffir lime leaves no problem, you may just want to add more lime juice and zest to get more of the lime flavor.  
 
 

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