A perfectly cooked piece of fish is a thing of beauty. This is delicious, quick and nutritious.
Olive Tomato Tapenade
6 Roma tomato, cored, seeded and diced (feel free to skin if you wish)
¼ c. kalamata olives, chopped
1 medium shallot, diced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 T. capers, chopped.
1 T. lemon zest
2 T. lemon juice
Dash balsamic vinegar
In sauté pan, cook shallot until clear in a small amount of olive oil. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add tomato and lemon zest, cook until tomato breaks down. Add olive, capers, vinegar and lemon juice, stir to combine and heat through.
For dredging tilapia (tastes good but not required- the fish is just as good seared plain)
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1/4 c. flour
1 t. each ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, dill weed, cracked black pepper, and kosher salt
Mix together on plate and dredge one side only of the filets well, then place in HOT saute pan with a little olive oil and allow to cook until well browned on bottom. Flip over and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve topped with tapenade.
By coating only one side of the fish, you get the crisp, crusty flavor of a fried fish without using a lot of oil or coating. Notice you don’t dip the filet in any liquid as is normal with coating fish for saute purposes. If the pan is hot enough, you will get a good sear on the flesh with the liquid it naturally contains. Don’t be too quick to rescue it once it’s in the pan, you should see the fish almost halfway cooked before you flip it over. And you will go “Ooooohhhh” when you see how delicious and browned the bottom will be. One more tip: Coat the flat side of the filet with the cornmeal mix. It sears best that way.
Tilapia is a very forgiving fish. It works well when it is slightly over-cooked even given the fact that most fish over-cooked tastes like eating shoe strings. Tilapia is mild and works well with anything you want to put on the top. It’s great baked with lemon and dill, grilled plain or on a plank, seared in a pan or broiled. This fish turned out perfectly, moist, tender and so flavorful with the tapenade. The olives give it a slight briny taste with little jolts of the crisp caper nuance. There is the bite of the garlic, the sour of the lemon and balsamic, all working in tandem with the pleasant flavor of the Roma. A great multi- layered taste to deeply compliment the firm, meaty flesh of the fish. We ate it with steamed asparagus, which also came out very well cooked.