Can we take a minute to just talk about how incredible basil is? A few years ago, D and I planted a couple of basil plants in our back patio garden and I pretty much just crossed my fingers that one of them would survive the makeshift conditions and avoid being eaten by neighborhood cats. Not only did all of our sweet basil plants avoid the dreaded death-by-random-feline, they absolutely flourished in that silly little garden. Halfway through the summer, we pretty much had a couple of basil-scented Audrey IIs on our hands. These things were absolute monsters! We started referring to them as our “basil trees.” Needless to say, we ate a lot of pesto that summer.
We have since toned things down to two smaller, potted basil plants, one that sits on our deck, and another that I put on the kitchen window sill so that I can stick my face in it any time I want and get a whiff of that beautiful basil smell. I love basil. It’s one of those ingredients that I have to actively keep myself from using when I know it won’t really match the rest of my flavors. The smell of basil is just so intoxicating to me that I constantly want to be chopping it up and tossing it onto everything I’m eating. So naturally whenever I come across a recipe that has basil right there in its name, I have to give it a try.
Although this week is off to a chilly, rainy start, we’ve been having beautiful spring weather here in Baltimore. Last Friday I decided that it was time to break out the grill and make the most of a gorgeous evening. That meant tasty cocktails, chips and a fruity homemade salsa (recipe to come), and some fresh fish with a light, springtime-appropriate marinade. I found a recipe for a Lime & Basil Tilapia that was pretty much exactly what I was looking for. The original recipe calls for boiling the marinade and then drizzling it over the grilled fish, but that felt like an unnecessary extra step to me. My plan was to let the fish marinade for the suggested half hour and then fire up the grill and get straight to cooking. That was the plan, but as so often happens with spontaneous dinner ideas that are prepared without foresight, there was a bit of a snag when D went to start the grill and discovered that we were completely out of gas. No worries, though, because our grilled tilapia become a baked tilipia and by the time everything was cooked and we were ready to eat, it had turned a little too chilly to sit outside and enjoy the evening anyway. Our patio grilling fiesta may have turned into just a regular dinner at the kitchen table, but the food was still tasty and was extremely easy to prepare, even with the last minute change of cooking method. I am definitely looking forward to trying this recipe again on a warm summer evening with gas in the grill and a margarita in hand.
Lime & Basil Tilapia
4 tilapia fillets (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
zest of 2 limes
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
2 teaspoons bourbon
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except for the tilapia fillets in a resealable plastic bag.
Mix together and add tilapia fillets.
Seal and refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Bake on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil at 350 degrees.
Fish is finished when it turns opaque and can be easily flaked with a fork.