Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tilapia Florentine

As some of you may know, I spent a semester of college studying abroad in Florence, Italy. While there, I looked at pretty art, ate lots of delicious Italian food, and apparently spent some time frolicking in fountains.

This is the part where I wish I could tell you I had some unbelievable Florentine fish dish at a hole-in-the-wall-trattoria that I have been slaving in the kitchen to reproduce for you in an inexpensive, idiot-proof way while maintaining that authentic flavor.

Unfortunately, nothing I encountered while in Florence resembled the so-called "Florentine" dishes we find here in America. Rather, for some reason the term Florentine on American menus just seems to mean involving spinach in some way. I have no idea why.

Anywho, my Tilapia Florentine is unfortunately not a recreation of a culinary experience I had in Florence. It's just a really tasty dish that is unbelievably fast and easy to make. I know, I know, I claim all my recipes are fast and easy. But this baby clocks in at under twenty minutes!

So go on and give it a try, and if anyone asks, tell them it's a little something you picked up on your last trip to Italy ;)

  • 1 fillet of tilapia. You could also use pretty much any other white fish. As long as it's white, I don't discriminate.
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs. I used garlic and herb, but you could also use Italian.
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter or olive oil. Choose your own fat adventure!
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 big ole handfuls frozen or fresh spinach leaves. If frozen, no need to let it thaw.
  • 1 can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
In the pictures you will see that I made enough for my whole family, but since this IS Cooking for One, I adapted my recipe for a single portion. Wasn't that thoughtful of me?


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and MacGyver yourself a crisping rack. I used a baking sheet, aluminum foil, and the rack from my toaster oven, but you could also use a ballpoint pen, a paper clip, and a ball of lint.

Of course, you could always use a real crisping rack, or just a regular ole baking sheet will do just fine.

Mix together your seasoned bread crumbs and melted butter or olive oil. This will help the mixture stick to the fish and get nice and toasty brown in the oven.

Pat a layer of the moist bread crumbs on top of your fish. Pop in the oven for about fifteen minutes.

In the meanwhile, you can make your lovely bed of spinach. Peel and mince your shallot and throw it in a saucepan with a bit of olive oil on medium high heat.

Once the shallot is soft and translucent, go ahead and add your can of diced tomatoes and spinach. Let the mixture simmer away until the spinach is wilted down (this will obviously take another minute or so if you are using frozen spinach).

When the tilapia is ready to come out of the oven, go ahead and mix the heavy cream into the spinach.

Spoon the spinach and tomatoes onto a plate and top with your tilapia. Buon appetito! ****

**** I am getting sick of using "Enjoy!" and/or some variation in another language pertaining to the origin of the recipe in each of my posts. Thus, I am announcing a new Cooking for One Contest!!!

Can YOU come up with a new creative catch phrase for me to use in my posts to indicate that I wish for the enjoyment of my food? For example:

1) Taste it, b@#$%!

2) This here is gonna be goooood.

3) Cooking for One? More like Cooking for FUN!

Points for hilarity will be awarded, so feel free to leave some ideas in the comments. Who knows, yours might be the lucky winner!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stuffed Mediterranean Bites

Hi, everyone! I made it back from Argentina and Uruguay safe and sound and had an amazing, food-filled time there. Here I am with a delicious stew called cazuela:

Anyways. Lately the blog has come under a little fire from critics. "But Stacy!" they say. "I thought this blog was called Cooking for One, yet all I see are four lb. briskets and giant turkey roulades! Surely you don't mean to tell me you eat those yourself?"

Touche, critics. Though I wish I could eat them all myself, I have been preparing these recent recipes for my family while I am (TEMPORARILY!) living at home. It just seems selfish of me to Cook for One while my family salivates all around me.

So today, I will share with you my Stuffed Mediterranean Bites. While you may not necessarily be able to eat them all yourself in one sitting, they harken back to the ridiculously easy, low maintenance recipes that form the foundation of this blog's values. Because this is America, dammit, and sometimes we just want to rely on premade Pillsbury dough!

These bites are an incredibly easy appetizer or snack, are color appropriate for holiday parties (what with the red, green, and white) and have a delicious flavor similar to spanakopita with a fraction of the work.


  • 1 package Pillsbury Crescent Dough. These are unbelievably fun to pop open.
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/3 cup julienned sundried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese. I used the Mediterranean flavored, but plain is fine, too.
That's all you need to make these easy, delicious appetizers!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil (easy clean-up!) Pop open your tube of Crescent Dough and giggle like a delighted schoolgirl.

Separate the dough into eight triangles along the pre-cut perforations and spread them out on the baking sheet.

Prepare the spinach according to the directions on the package. Put the spinach into a strainer or colander and use the back of a spoon (or your hands if you wanna get messy) to squeeze out all the excess liquid from the spinach. This will make the difference between toasty bites and soggy ones!

Put a thin layer of spinach on each triangle of dough. You don't want to overload the filling.

Depending on how finely chopped your sundried tomatoes are in the jar, you might want to just take some scissors and snip them into smaller bits before topping the spinach with them.

Sprinkle the triangles with the feta and loosely roll them up around the filling.

Pop them in the oven for 13-15 mins. or until the dough is puffed and golden and the feta is melty and delicious. Put them on a plate to cool and dig in!