Follow the Leader

It’s hard to believe, but this is our last post from Down Under. This tour seems to have gone by rather quickly, or maybe it’s just me. I really enjoyed our adventures with Aussie cuisine and have a feeling a few of these recipes will stick around (especially the Pavlova) for years to come. However, before we get to the final recipe, I thought we’d play a little game of follow the leader.

You see it’s my turn to pick our next cooking around the world destination, but I’m feeling a bit indecisive. So I thought I’d leave it up to you to decide where we go next. You lead, we’ll follow. The poll will be open until next Sunday evening. So tell us, where should we go? Click your choice in the poll below.

Now on to our last Australian dish and we’re heading back to the barbie. This time we’re going with seafood and a recipe inspired by the Sydney Fish Market, a Grilled White Fish with Lemon Rocket Pesto. The original recipe called for the use of lemon myrtle, an ingredient I had never heard of before. So after consulting good ol’ Wikipedia, I learned that it’s a flowering plant and a well-known “bushwood” flavor. I then had to learn what “bushwood” meant…it traditionally relates to any food native to Australia.

The next thing we learned is that there was no chance of acquiring lemon myrtle in time to make this dish, and that’s where our improvisation came in to the recipe. While I know it’s not close to the same thing, we used lemon zest in place of the lemon myrtle in the pesto. (After also searching for lemon thyme to use as a substitute, but coming up empty-handed.) We were able to find the rest of the ingredients including arugula (rocket), garlic, macadamia nuts, olive oil and lemon juice.

We pureed everything in a food processor to create our lemon rocket pesto.

Next we prepared our white fish. We chose a tilapia for this dish, but a snapper or halibut would work as well.

We mixed olive oil and garlic together to brush over the fish.

Then we sliced up some lemons to caramelize on the grill in a bit of olive oil.

The lemons were placed on the grill over indirect heat.

The tilapia over medium, but direct heat.

The fish grilled for about three minutes a side and the lemons about five minutes per side. We topped our grilled tilapia with the pesto and served it with the caramelized lemons and fresh, sweet corn on the cob.

It was the perfect meal to serve al fresco. The fish was delicious with the pesto and the lemons were tangy, but sweet at the same time. Delicious! I also loved how quickly this recipe came together. It’s easily one we could put into our weeknight rotation. And if it’s not grilling season (Mike’s not a year-round outdoor griller.), it would work well on a grill pan as well.

The pesto was full of flavor. The arugula brings hints of pepper, the lemon was definitely prominent and the garlic was certainly not lost in the mix either. Mike and I both really enjoyed this dish. It was 4 spoons for me and 3 spoons for Mike. He would have preferred a little less garlic in his pesto.

The kids were a bit surprising. I figured this was a sure winner for Mr. N who not only likes fish, but loves pesto and lemons. However, for whatever reason, the combination of his favorites in this dish weren’t quite up to par. He thought it was just ok and came in with 2 spoons. As for Miss A, who usually turns up her nose at white fish dishes, she actually went to town on this one and ate every bite. I don’t think she’d request to have the meal on her own, but I know she’d eat it if we made it again, so we’ll say 3 spoons for her. (Always the rebel, she of course said it was 11 spoons despite Mr. N’s insistence that there is no 11 in our rating system.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed our tour through Australian cuisine as much as we did! Up next we have a stateside adventure and another contender in our French Toast Madness. Until then…I can’t wait to see where you all plan to lead us! Have a great week everyone.

Print this recipe:ย Grilled White Fish with Lemon Rocket Pesto

38 thoughts on “Follow the Leader

  1. Charles says:

    Ooh, heh, I just saw Eva’s post about pesto tilapia and then I see this too – what are the chances? ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve never tried pesto with fish before… and I can’t believe I didn’t! Will have to do this soon. Did you find any problems grilling the fish? I don’t have a barbecue, but whenever I try to do it in my ridged grill pan it turns out horribly. The fish sticks to the ridges all the time and then breaks apart when I flip it :/


  2. Aimee@clevermuffin says:

    Aw man, I missed out on voting (that’ll teach me to go missing from the blogging world for a couple of weeks). But the record, I totally think you should go to Belgium because I want to see you guys make chocolate! I love the Sydney Fish Market, this dish looks ah-mazing!


  3. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    This looks incredible and i have a feeling it will make it onto our regular rotation for dinner as well. One question for Mike…how does he keep such a thin fish like Tilapia from getting too dry on the grill? We do salmon on the grill but it’s thicker and fattier so easier to stay moist. Your pesto looks fantastic and I love the idea of using the rocket in it. Have a great weekend!


  4. Caroline says:

    Oooo I’m a huge pesto fan, and love how you used arugula instead of basil, and macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts. That had to taste incredible. And even better atop the fish! Your presentation is gorgeous, and so colorful. Love it. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. spicegirlfla says:

    See, when you think you have figured your kids out, they change!! I can’t remember how many times I’d excitedly make something I thought either my son or daughter would like, based on past thumbs up, only to find they no longer like it or just wasn’t right!! For me, a pesto smear on fish sounds fabulous! I’m so impressed Mike can grill a tender fish right on the grill. I’m always afraid of sticking and breaking it up! Guess that’s why I leave grilling to the guys!


  6. Bam's Kitchen says:

    Too much garlic? What? Its only too much garlic if they can smell your dish upon the arrival from the airport on the way to your home. I am glad that your kids eat fish without the fuss my kids give me. Maybe if I try your recipe they will gobble it up without any persuasion.


  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Now I cannot wait to see the next destination! Hope my pick will win! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I love today’s recipe – we love fish and eat often, and I want to try this arugula pesto! Sounds delicious!


  8. Purely.. Kay says:

    The white fish looked cooked to perfection. And the pesto definitely looks delish! I really love this dish. I may have to definitely try this at home. And of course I voted for the next dish ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise says:

    hehehe Miss A’s rating sounds like something my son (he’s 3) would say. Nowadays when he likes something it gets a mark of 90 if he hates it, it is rated 1000 times (in the minus that is) lol
    His sister tries explaining that numbers don’t work that way and they get into heated arguments that are sometimes fun to watch and others a major headache!
    I love the idea of an arugula pesto, I actually love anything arugula and the idea of it in a pesto is indeed an interesting one


    • Kristy says:

      Mr. N does the same thing. Especially when it comes to the concept of time. He just doesn’t understand what’s so hard to understand about yesterday, today and tomorrow. Little does he remember that he used to do the same thing when he was younger. It’s so cute (like you said – most of the time). ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Three Well Beings says:

    The pesto, in particular, sounds just wonderful! And a nice inexpensive pesto at that! This is really nice, Kristy! I will look forward to seeing how your poll turns out! I voted for Cuba, but they are all such interesting cuisines…fun! Debra


  11. helene dsouza says:

    Oh what a fun game. =) I ll say Argentinian, I don’t know any south American dishes and that would be very interesting.

    Love the pesto ingredients and the way u prepared the dish. I ought to try it soon!


  12. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Beautiful recipe and a great twist on traditional pesto – the rocket and macadamia sound delightful. I like how you serve it simply with the corn and lemon… so pretty! (and beautiful light on your photos Kristy). 11 spoons – heehee ;-).


  13. Eva Taylor says:

    What a coincidence Kristy, I also posted a white fish with pesto recipe today; great minds…
    I’m going to try the rocket pesto, it sounds wonderful! rocket is one of my all time favourite greans too.


  14. hotlyspiced says:

    I’ve cast my vote. What a shame I didn’t know you needed lemon myrtle powder. I have plenty as I love to cook with it. I use it with chicken but it’s excellent with fish. I would have been happy to post you some. If you’d still like some, send me an email and I’ll put a few sachets in the post for you. You’ve done Australia proud Kristy, it’s been a great series and I’ve really enjoyed seeing what you’ve done. You have a great blog with a unique concept and I really enjoy your posts – there’s always something new to discover xx


  15. ChgoJohn says:

    Probably the most daunting thing about your global cuisine is finding the ingredients. Even lemon thyme, which I’ve seen in nurseries in Spring but nowhere else. Still, you put together a great pesto, just perfect for your grilled fish. Good job!
    Now, what’s this I hear about too much garlic. That’s heresy, I tell you! ๐Ÿ™‚


  16. Profiteroles & Ponytails says:

    Macadamia nuts and rocket — I never would have imagined this combination. I’m intrigued and hungry now. What a great way to wrap up your Australian tour. I’ll be coming back to this recipe, as I’m looking to make a few different pestos to use up the herbs in my garden.


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