Today I'm sharing a recipe with you a bit reluctantly. It's actually the result of a mystery box challenge that I'm doing with a few other bloggers, "Chopped" style. The way it works is, we drew names out of a hat (well, one of us did - we arranged it virtually), then mailed our assigned blogger a box of three (or four) random ingredients. We then had to take our ingredients and turn them into one cohesive dish.
I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty pumped to tackle my basket—until I actually received it, that is. I was stumped. It's a good thing I didn't have only 20 or 30 minutes to create something, or I would have turned in an empty plate. I kid you not, I went round and round and back and forth with this. My three ingredients just did NOT want to play nicely together. Curling up in a ball and rocking back forth sounded better than anything I could come up with.
Before I go any further, I should tell you what I received from Ashley of Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen: sardines in Harissa, asparagus pesto, and dried dragonfruit. Separately I could think of all sorts of awesome ways to use them. I even came up with a few flashes of brilliance using two of them together...but all three? Uh, no. I even sent out a call for help, asking people on Facebook what they would make with those ingredients.
The general consensus was that they would order take-out. I also asked on Instagram and heard crickets (but it did get a "♥" from Chopped judge Donatella Arpaia). So, I fretted and pondered for another week and a half before just going for something. Last night. Like, literally 13 hours ago. I'd had the ingredients for more than a month.
How did it taste? Well, remember I said I would've been chopped. I really didn't love the flavors together. Each part of the dish was okay on its own, but not my favorite together. But hey, at least I didn't give up. Gotta get chopped trying, not quitting. (So yeah, make this at your own risk. I included the recipe because I wanted to show you how I used my ingredients, but...)
Tilapia and Sardines in Creamy Asparagus Sauce over Confetti Couscous
Tilapia and sardines smothered in a creamy coconut asparagus sauce, set over a bed of confetti couscous.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Keywords: entree pescetarian
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 3/4 cup couscous
- 4 ounces cooked asparagus, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped dried dragon fruit
- 1/4 cup salted, roasted sunflower seeds + more to garnish
- 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- black pepper
- 1 (4 ounce) tin sardines in Harissa
- 2 (4 ounce) tilapia fillets
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons asparagus pesto
- black pepper
Instructionsmaking the couscous:
Combine water, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a small pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, put on the lid and remove from heat; let sit 5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork, then gently fold in the rest of the ingredients until distributed evenly. Set aside while you make the fish and sauce.
Season the tilapia with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet large enough to hold both tilapia fillets over medium-high heat. Once hot, pour in about 2 tablespoons of harissa oil from the sardine tin. Carefully set the tilapia fillets into the hot oil, presentation side down; cook until lightly golden on each side and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes total. Drain as much oil from the skillet as you can.
Carefully set the sardines into the pan, around the tilapia, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway, until heated through.
Stir together the coconut milk and asparagus pesto, then add to the skillet. Let it bubble up for a minute, then remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Divide the couscous among two plates, then carefully set a piece of tilapia on each plate. Pour the sauce over the tilapia, making sure to divide the sardines evenly among the plates. Sprinkle with a few extra sunflower seeds.
So tell me, what would YOU have made with the mystery box I received?
- Gluten-Free Lemon Cake Donuts with a Blueberry Bourbon Glaze by Nomageddon (chickpea flour, canned blueberries, chocolate covered cacao nibs, candied fennel seeds)
- Japanese Falafel by NY Foodgasm (sweet rice flour, adzuki beans, black garlic)
- Lemongrass Ginger Ice Cream with Spicy Tapioca Topping by Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine (fresh lemongrass, candied ginger, black tapioca pearls)
- Prickly Pear-Marinated Shrimp Tacos with Honey-Glazed Chorizo & BBQ Crema by Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen (spicy barbecue sauce, prickly pear soda, Spanish chorizo picante, honey)
- Tilapia and Sardines in Creamy Asparagus Sauce over Confetti Couscous by All Roads Lead to the Kitchen (dried dragon fruit, asparagus pesto, sardines in Harissa)