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Almond-Crusted Sole with Chard Pesto & Rice Pilaf with Peas
You could use sole or tilapia in this flexible weeknight dinner.
1 tbsp. butter
¼ cup broken pasta pieces or orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 cup long-grain rice
Salt and pepper
1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ to 3/4 cup shelled fresh spring peas or organic frozen peas
Fish and Pesto
¾ cup sliced blanched (no skins) almonds
About 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
About 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and white pepper or finely ground black pepper
½ lb. Swiss chard (about 1 bunch), center stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 lemons, 1 juiced (about 1/4 cup) and 1 cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, crushed
About 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
About 1/3 cup EVOO
About 3/4 cup flour
3 large eggs
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
About 3 tbsp. safflower or olive oil
About 3 tbsp. butter
4 sole or tilapia fillets (6 to 8 oz. each)
For the rice, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pasta. Cook, stirring often, until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rice; season with salt and pepper. Stir for 1 minute more. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the peas. Cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Fluff with a fork before serving.
In a small pan, toast the nuts over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 2 minutes. Let cool. In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the nuts until finely ground. In a shallow dish, mix the ground nuts with the breadcrumbs, parsley, and thyme; season with salt and white pepper.
Return the processor bowl to the base. Add the remaining nuts, the chard, Parm, lemon juice, garlic, and nutmeg. Pulse until well chopped. With the machine running, stream in the EVOO to form the pesto; season.
In a second shallow dish, season the flour with salt and pepper. In a third dish, whisk the eggs and Dijon.
In a very large skillet, heat the oil, three turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high. Add the butter to the oil and let it melt. Coat the fish in the flour, then the egg, and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing so the crumbs adhere. Add the fish to the skillet. Cook until deep golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Top each fillet with lots of pesto. Serve with the rice pilaf and lemon wedges.