Poached Tilapia, Rosemary Polenta and Pickled Beets

March 31, 2009


We didn’t make it to the grocery store this weekend, so I worked with what we had. I found some frozen tilapia, a jar of Pickled Beets and decided to whip up some polenta. Recently I read an article on Cook’s Illustrated that compared various white wines to satisfy the “dry white wine” ingredient you often find in recipes. Sauvignon Blanc came out on top and Dry Vermouth was second. They specifically recommend Gallo. Since Dry Vermouth is a fortified wine and can be kept on the self for months, the convenience factor sold me on giving it a try. I used it in the sauce and found the Vermouth worked fine, although given my druthers, I would use a wine. The Vermouth seemed a bit one dimensional and not quite as acidic as I’d liked, but for everyday cooking Vermouth will work fine. And for $6.00 a bottle, quite economical. The beets were a store bought brand I spiced up a bit. The rosemary polenta, I have written about making it before.


The fish and sauce


  • 2 pieces of tilapia
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot or 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup dry vermouth, or dry white wine
  • 1 cup fish stock or chicken stock


Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper both sides of tilapia. In an oven proof pan, over medium heat, cook the shallot until translucent in 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add garlic until it’s released it’s aroma, about a minute. Turn the heat up to high and add the dry white wine or vermouth, cook for one minute and add the stock. There should be enough liquid to reach at least half way up the sides of the fish.  Bring to a simmer, cover and put in the oven. The fish should be cooked until translucent, depending on the size of the fish, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Once the fish is done transfer it from the liquid to aluminum foil, wrap and cover with a towel to keep warm.

Put the pan back on the burner, on high, and reduce the liquid to 3/4 of what it was. Remove from heat and mount with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter.

The beets


  • 1 jar of pickled beets
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup orange juice


Drain beet juice into a sauce pan. Add ginger and orange juice and reduce by half. Add beets to the reduced liquid and warm through.

By Kenton