Yesterday I made a dish that was unexpected and out of character for me, being that I don't usually cook fish and I have never used fennel before.  As such, it was light, flavorful, and I will definitely be using fennel again!  Next time, maybe raw.

I had about a pound of tilapia and coated it in a dry rub:

  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. blackened cajun rub
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook the fish for 4 minutes, then flip it and cook for another 3 minutes on the other side.  As soon as the fish is done, turn off the heat and sprinkle on the juice of a lemon, followed by a sprinkling of kosher salt.  The chili powder does not make it spicy, it lends a sweet and smokey flavor rather than heat.  If you prefer some heat, add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of cayenne to the rub.

This is the fennel salad I made as a side dish.  The only thing I changed was that I used bacon instead of panchetta.  I cut it up into chunks and cooked & rendered the fat on the stove instead of throwing it in the oven to roast.  Then I drained out as much of the bacon fat as possible and tossed it with the roasted fennel before combining it with lettuce.

Winner winner, fish dinner.

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