Dinner Date: Blackened Fish Tostadas with Watermelon Salsa
Cookbook and recipe photos by Peter Krumhart and Dean Tanner. Wine bottle photo by Aaron Roseli.
The Dairy Good Cookbook: Everyday Comfort Food from America’s Dairy Farm Families edited by Lisa Kingsley
(Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2015, $25)
Use just about any white‑fleshed fish you like in these spicy‑sweet tostadas. The recipe calls for tilapia, but sole, cod, catfish, halibut, or flounder work equally well. These fish varieties vary in thickness, though, so be sure the fish is thoroughly cooked. Watermelon and feta cheese are frequent culinary partners. The tangy, salty cheese—with its firm texture—is a nice contrast to the sweet juiciness of the melon.
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 4 tbsp. blackening spice blend
- 4, 5-ounce tilapia fillets
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and cubed
- 8 corn tostadas
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the salsa, gently toss the watermelon, onion, lime juice, and cilantro together in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving, up to 1 hour.
For the fish, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the blackening spice evenly on both sides of each fillet. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium‑high heat. Add two fillets and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining two fillets.
For the tostadas, divide the cabbage, tomatoes and avocados among the eight tostadas. Top each tostada with half a fish fillet and about 1/4 cup of the watermelon salsa. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the feta cheese and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings
Villa Toscano 2014 White Barbera
The wines produced from Shenandoah Valley’s vineyards—home to some of the oldest vines in the state—are renowned for their intense fruit and deep color. One of my favorite local wineries in this region, Villa Toscano, pays homage to Tuscany with their commitment to serving full-bodied fine wines and good food in a truly romantic setting. Extended oak aging on their red varietals ensures deep, complex vinos, while their white varietals receive no oak aging, thus preserving the wine’s fruit character and freshness.
Villa Toscano’s 2014 White Barbera has an aroma that boasts a lovely bouquet of tart green apples, citrus and Asian pears. On the palate, you’ll be greeted with hints of honeydew melon and a dash of pink grapefruit, while notes of citrus fill the edges. This light, refreshing wine pairs nicely with seafood—like this month’s Blackened Fish Tostadas with Watermelon Salsa—and spicy Asian dishes; at $26 a bottle, it also makes a lovely host/hostess gift for a summer soiree.
—Christina Leyva, Events Manager, 36 Handles Pub & Eatery