It’s getting cold outside in Minnesota, so the other night I was rummaging through my fridge and pantry trying to come up with a warm dish. I did some searching on line and played around creating a recipe utilizing some ingredients that I had on hand.
I hadn’t always had Garbanzo beans (or little versatile, tasty legumes called chickpeas) as a staple in my pantry, but after reading that these beans are full of protein, fiber and are loaded with vitamins and minerals, I do now! Garbanzo beans and chickpeas are the same plant and they are not only delicious, but they offer a lot of nutritional value. They can be tossed into salads, roasted, stirred into stews and mashed into a tasty, Mediterranean dip. They are high in vitamins B6 and C, plus fiber, folate and glutathione, an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant.
Additionally, I decided to use asparagus because it’s also an excellent nutritional choice. Purists enjoy their asparagus with nothing more than a drizzle of good-quality olive oil, but I believe that you can enjoy asparagus in many different dishes including soups, salads, stir-fries, risottos, eggs, pasta, and especially thrown into something like this dish!
2 Tillapia Fillets
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Basil Pesto
3 Cups Vegetable Stock, prepared with water and one Tablespoon Better than Bouillon, Vegetable flavor
1 Cup Polenta
1/3 Cup additional Water was necessary
1 Garlic Clove, pressed
1 Tablespoon Basil, fresh chopped
3/4 Cups Gruyere Cheese, shredded
1 Onion, small, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, pressed
1 15.5 oz Can canned Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 Cup Vegetable broth, prepared with water and Better than Bouillon, Vegetable flavor
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil
1 Tablespooon Basil, dried
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1/2 Lemon, juiced and zest
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 Asparagus bunch, ends trimmed and stalks peeled
Coarse salt, to taste
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts, toasted
Begin by preparing the polenta.
Start by making the polenta. In a deep pan, heat stock to a boil and gradually stir in the grits. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Stir frequently for about 30 minutes or so. The package recommends a long-handled wooden spoon because the Polenta will spit and splatter and could cause burns. Stir in the, garlic, cheese and basil.
Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and pour in the warm, cooked polenta. Smooth it out and allow it to sit for at least ten minutes to set up before cutting. I chose a round cutter, but a knife works just fine.
While the polenta is cooking, sauté the onion in a medium-sized sauce pan until it begins to soften, about five minutes. Add the garlic and drained, rinsed garbanzo beans before stirring for about another minute. Add the broth, basil, and the pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about five minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and add it to the pan. Add the lemon peel and juice, and stir in about a tablespoon of butter. Cook over medium low heat until slightly thickened keeping it warm.
Clean asparagus and snap ends. Peel thick ends using a vegetable peeler. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast in a preheated 450 degree oven uncovered for about 10 minutes or until crisp-tender, toss a bit during roasting.
Prepare the fish simply by seasoning it with salt & pepper.
Melt the butter and pesto over medium high heat and cook fish for about five minutes per side until cooked through and browned on each side. Cut the polenta into desired shapes. I used a round four inch mold.
Top each round with some of the chickpeas and asparagus. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of lemon olive oil.
We enjoyed this dish with a bright LADERA Savignon Blanc!