Cheddar and Ale Tilapia - Easy

I forgot to photograph fish after baking ...

Here is a dairy fish dish that is fast and easy ... perfect for a week night.  Takes longer to preheat oven than to bake dinner.  And the fish reheats beautifully if/when you cart leftovers to work the next day.

If you have ever made cheddar cheese soup or did the fondue thing, most of the ingredients will look familiar.  I was trying to capture the smoky cheesy flavor of both without having to use a spoon.  Or a fondue spear.

.... so these were taken at work next day with cell phone.

I prefer dark ale or beer in this recipe because it holds its own against the flavorful cheddar and Worcestershire sauce.  The ale is poured over the fish to give the coating mixture something to help it adhere better.  As you will quickly discover, most of the ale will then spill off the fish (so a rimmed pan is kinda required), but this is a good thing.  The fish poaches in the ale, giving it even more flavor.  The amount of cayenne is juuuuust enough to give a tiny tingle of flavor, not to hurt. But it you're the type who thinks cinnamon is spicy, simply omit it.  The mustard will zing enough.

Cheddar and Ale Tilapia - Easy
This recipe has been entered in Your Best Recipe with Beer contest at Food52. 
Serves 4

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Dash cayenne (optional)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl. butter
4 tilapia fillets (about 1 lb.)
2 Tbl. additional butter, melted
1/2 cup dark ale or beer

Preheat oven to 400F.  Combine cheese, dry mustard, cayenne (if using) and Worcestershire sauce in a small mixing bowl.  Set aside.

Grease a medium-sized rimmed baking pan with the one tablespoon of butter.  Place fillets in baking pan in a single layer.  Pour ale or beer over fish.  Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over fish. Drizzle the 2 tablespoons of melted butter evenly over cheese mixture.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese melts, coating browns and fish is opaque and cooked through.  If the fish is cooked but the cheese still needs a bit of browning, place under the broiler for a minute or two, watching carefully so that it does not burn.

Paper plate was left over from co-worker's baby shower.

Serve immediately with potatoes or your favorite veggie. 


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