alexandra alger

ABC

Summer Ease

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I had fresh corn for the first time this week. Heaven. I live for fresh corn. I can’t get enough of it. I gorge on it all summer, and then suddenly, just as the air grows chillier and the corn kernels harden, I find I can’t stand one more ear. I’m ready for turnips and cauliflower.

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while–just haven’t been inspired in recent months–but the arrival of corn at my local markets has gotten me fired up to share this incredibly easy, fast and delicious tilapia recipe, served with steamed corn and collard greens stir-fried with garlic and olive oil.

Sheila Lukins’ Tilapia (from cookstr.com, slightly amended)

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

Spice mixture:
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sweet paprika
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning (I’m not entirely convinced you need this)
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dry mustard (I don’t use if I don’t have)
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (I don’t always use this, either)
Pam cooking spray
4 tilapia fillets (about 6 ounces each)
4 lime halves, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Prepare the spice mixture, combining all the ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Coat pan with Pam spray.

4. Spread fillets with the spice mixture on both sides. Spray top of then fish with Pam.

5. Bake for 1-12 minutes, until the fish flakes.

6. Serve immediately, garnished with lime halves.

I have to share this recipe, too, because it’s the dessert equivalent of the Tilapia dish–no, it’s even easier you don’t have to worry about whether you have Old Bay seasoning or if you remembered to buy dried mustard. As long as you have a pint or two of blueberries around, or a few fresh plums–both so plentiful in the summer–you can make this last minute. It’s so easy you won’t believe it actually tastes good. The fruit melts into a crusty, buttery cake. It’s even better for breakfast the next day. My friend Ellen Newman, a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, neighbor, is the genius behind it.

Ellen Newman’s Fruit Tort

Ingredients:

I cup flour

I cup sugar

1 stick of salted butter, melted

1 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

Pinch of salt

A couple of plums, peeled and sliced; or two pints of raspberries; or one-two pints of blueberries.

You’re wondering about milk, aren’t you? Nope. There’s no milk involved. No other liquid–just go with it!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix together everything but the fruit in a greased and floured springform pan.

3. Gently put fruit on top.

4. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is golden.

Write me if you try this. I need to know that despite your reservations about how this could possibly turn out, it did, and you were thrilled.

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