Beer Is Better: Wheat Beer-Poached Tilapia and Orange Salad

Lots of recipes for cooking with beer produce heavy dishes – plenty of stews and fried items. I wanted to make something lighter and healthier for dinner, so I worked backward.

Tilapia is a good foundation for a healthy meal, and it’s my go-to weeknight fish. It is a white fish that’s fairly firm. If farmed in North or South America, it’s safe and environmentally friendly, too.

Now, how could I incorporate beer into my tilapia dish? By using it as a poaching liquid. I knew I wanted a fairly light, smooth beer – a bitter IPA or dark porter would impart too much strong flavor onto the fish. I opted for a Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat beer, which is brewed with lemon peel. A Belgian witbier, traditionally brewed with orange peel, would also be a good choice.

Paired with an orange and arugula salad and caper remoulade, the fish made for a meal that was light and delicious. The citrus notes in the beer tied the fish, side salad and sauce together.

Main course ingredients:

  • 1 pound tilapia (2-3 filets)
  • 1 bottle wheat beer
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning

Salad ingredients:

  • 4 ounces arugula (about half a pre-washed bag)
  • 1 large orange, peeled and diced
  • Handful of parmesan cheese
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Remoulade ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon capers, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chives (about 5 stalks), finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
  • Pinch of dried dill
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Step 1. Make the remoulade first; it can be refrigerated after completion. Combine all the ingredients together, then taste to adjust seasoning. Add more of any of the ingredients to match your taste preference. Be careful about adding too much dried dill, that seasoning will give off additional flavor as it sits in the sauce.

Step 2. Next, make the salad. Combine arugula and diced orange, and top with grated parmesan cheese and dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Step 3. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add a little oil. While the pan is heating, slice the tilapia filets in half, down the middle of the filet. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Sear the fish in the pan and remove it quickly, before it cooks too much.

Step 4. Pour the bottle of beer in the saute pan. It will bubble. Reduce the liquid by about half, to intensify the beer flavor.

Step 5. Decrease the heat to a simmer and return the fish to the pan. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until fish just flakes.

Serve fish with salad, spoonful of remoulade and crusty dinner roll.

  • Nathan F

    Yes!

  • Tania Granoff

    That is a delicious preparation! I substituted snapper, as it was on sale at my favorite fish counter, and it worked very well. The meal was very well-received and made a great end-of-the-week meal. I had never considered poaching fish in beer; it was a revelation!

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      I’m so glad it worked out for you. I’ve found poaching fish is a great way to keep it moist, something home cooks frequently worry about.

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