pan-fried fish fillets with mediterranean tomato sauce

I’ve been cooking a lot with tomatoes lately!  Tomatoes are so versatile raw or cooked, so naturally, I had to try this new fish recipe. According to myrecipes.com, this recipe, if made with 6 ounce yellowtail snapper fillets with the skin on, amounts to 282 calories per serving. I used tilapia because it was available (and cheaper) but I think any white fish will do. The sauce has a nice light taste; not overpoweringly tomato-y. In fact,  all the flavors of the herbs come through, so be sure to use fresh as directed in the recipe.

Pan-Fried Fish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce (adapted from myrecipes.com)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato
1 1/2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (flat-leaf parsley in original recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pounds tilapia fillets (approximately 2 large fillets)

1. In a medium skillet heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add tomato to the pan and cook 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the capers, Dijon mustard, and minced garlic. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, chives, and tarragon. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste. Cover the skillet to keep warm.

2. In a large nonstick skillet heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with about 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper per side. Add fish to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Turn the fish over; cook 3 minutes or until the fish turns white and flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish with the warmed sauce.

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baked tilapia with cilantro, ginger, scallion, and thai chile

This has been a trying week. I am trying out this new “diet” that said eating dessert for breakfast helps you lose weight. Of course, I had to try it. Who doesn’t want to have their cake and eat it too? After suffering an upset tummy from eating a chocolate frosted brownie too early in the morning, I found I wasn’t hungry until the end of the day, when my tummy began growling ferociously, FEED ME. So for dinner, I tried this new recipe called “Asian Inspired Tilapia,” which was such a curiously uninspiring name for a fish dish that has so many flavorful ingredients commonly found in the well-stocked Chinese kitchen. Except for the jalapeño. The jalapeño is for the timid soul. But if you are adventurous, I do recommend the Thai chile pepper instead. It made a huge difference in making this sauce piquant. So I re-christen this recipe–

Baked Tilapia with Cilantro, Scallion, Ginger, and Thai Chile

2 tilapia fillets – about 1 pound
1 Thai chile pepper (jalapeño in the original recipe)
3 scallions or green onions
2 inches peeled sliced ginger
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime (I used half a lemon)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine (I used rice cooking wine)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Sweet Red Pepper, chopped for garnish (Any pepper will do just so long as it’s colorful)
Scallions, chopped for garnish
Extra cilantro, to garnish
1 package/bag Mixed Baby Salad Greens

Heat the oven to 475F. Pat the fish dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place in a glass baking dish.

Cook’s note: It doesn’t need salt and pepper, so I left it out. The “dressing” or sauce is salty, sour, and spicy enough.

Add jalapeno pepper, green onion, chopped ginger, and cilantro into small food processor and pulse until combined. Add the mixture to a small bowl with the fresh lime juice or lemon juice, soy sauce, wine, and sesame oil. Mix until blended.

Pour the sauce over the fish, pressing the solid ingredients down into the fish a bit. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is cooked through.

Divide the salad greens between two plates. Remove the tilapia with a spatula and place half on top of the greens on each plate. Drizzle the fish with the marinade left in the pan. Garnish with chopped red pepper, cilantro and green onion.

Serve with warm, crusty bread (or steamed white rice, if you are a traditionalist). I served this fish with roasted vegetables.

five-spice tilapia

This really was quick and easy! I blanched the broccoli and sugar snap peas for 2 minutes each. Then rinsed and drained them to set the color. I seasoned stir-fried the broccoli in a little oil and seasoned it with sea salt. Then I stir-fried the peppers in oil with a little garlic–two cloves to be exact–then added the sugar snap peas to heat through. Afterwards, I sprinkled the peas and peppers with Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. It’s becoming my favorite! The fish dish has just 3 main ingredients: soy sauce, brown sugar, and five-spice powder. Five spice powder is available from Asian markets. It contains star anise, Sichuan pepper, cinnamon, fennel seed, and cloves all ground up together in a delectable powder.

Five Spice Tilapia (from Eating Well)

Makes 4 servings | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 15 minutes Ingredients

1 pound tilapia fillets (about 4 fillets)
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (this is so hard to be precise; just sprinkle it on both sides of the fish!)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally

Preparation
1. Pat the fish fillets dry. Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with five-spice powder and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and the sugar. Stir and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tilapia and cook until the outer edges of the fillets turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and flip the fillets. Stir the soy sauce mixture and pour it into the pan. Bring the sauce to a oil and cook until the fish is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with scallion. Serve at once.

Nutrition Per serving : 180 Calories; 6 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 57 mg Cholesterol; 9 g Carbohydrates; 24 g Protein; 0 g Fiber

almond-crusted tilapia

I call the plate Cookies and Cream

We had a good dinner tonight. Magical things are happening in the Three-Dimensional Kitchen! I felt inspired by the Sunflower Seed Crusted Orange Roughy recipe in the Cooking Light Eat Smart Guide: 200-Calorie cookbook to create this one. If you have qualms about using Orange Roughy, then by all means, use another white fish.

As I said before, I like to use whatever is on hand in my kitchen: almonds, tilapia, panko breadcrumbs, and Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Italian Medley Seasoning Blend. My philosophy is to be generous with the seasonings. If 1/2 teaspoon is too little, then add more. And do add more herbs and seasoning to taste, yours. I suggest basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme…

This fish came out of the oven flaky with a crunchy topping. And it had no salt. Except what you might want to add at the table

Ingredients
2 large egg whites (6 tablespoons packaged egg whites)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( I used 1 teaspoon lemon pepper and omitted the grated lemon rind)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted almonds, crushed (originally sunflower seeds)
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Italian Medley
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon granulated onion
4-6 (6 oz) white fish fillets, e.g. orange roughy, tilapia
Cooking spray
Lemon slices, optional

Preparation
1. Preheat oven 475˚F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while preheating.
2. Combine egg whites, (lemon) pepper, and lemon rind (if using) in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk until foamy. Combine panko and almonds in a shallow dish like a pie plate. Season panko-almond mixture. Mix with a fork. Dip fillets in egg white mixture, dredge in panko mixture. Place fillets on a wire rack to rest 10 minutes.
3. Remove baking sheet from oven with oven mitts and coat pan with cooking spray. Coat top of  fillets with cooking spray. Place fillets on pan. Bake 10 minutes or until fillet flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon slices, if using.

fish fillets with cornmeal crust

In my continuing quest to prepare healthier meals, I concocted this recipe that uses white fish (tilapia and basa are recommended) and organic cornmeal. It’s not hard to do and can be made in half an hour.

Ingredients
4 white fish fillets such as tilapia or basa
1/2-2/3 cup organic cornmeal
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs such as Mrs. Dash
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow pan combine the cornmeal, parsely, onion and garlic powders, salt, lemon pepper, and Mrs. Dash. Dredge each fillet in the cornmeal mixture until thoroughly coated. Place on the prepared baking tray. Spray the tops with cooking spray.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

It tends to be crunchy and dry. So if a moister product is desired, serve the fish with vegetables in a light sauce or prepare a salsa to serve with it. I suggest a tomato-avocado salsa although a mango salsa would be delicious too.

fiery fish tacos with crunchy corn salsa

I adapted this light and easy to make recipe from allrecipes.com.  I used snapper fillets instead of tilapia and flour tortillas instead of corn. I left out the jicama and didn’t miss it. I had a lot of the fish taco spice left over so I recommend reducing the amount or spooning out what’s needed and putting up the rest. I also recommend substituting chopped avocado or chopped tomato instead of the jicama. To me, a taco isn’t fiery unless you add chilies to it so in went half a habañero (Scotch bonnet in Jamaica). This turned out to be a tasty meal, light but satisfying, zesty and full of flavor.

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Servings: 6

INGREDIENTS:
Corn Salsa
1 cup corn
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup peeled, chopped jicama, optional
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 Scotch bonnet (habañero) pepper with seeds, finely chopped, optional

Tacos
1-2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1/2 -1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons salt
6 (4 ounce) tilapia or snapper fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 corn tortillas, warmed
2 tablespoons sour cream or nonfat Greek-style yogurt, optional

DIRECTIONS:
1. Prepare to cook. Preheat grill for high heat. Or, preheat broiler at 450˚F and spray a broiling pan with cooking spray. Set pan aside until ready to broil fish.

2. Make the corn salsa. In a medium bowl, mix together corn, red onion, jicama (if using), red bell pepper, cilantro, and the scotch bonnet pepper (if using). Stir in lime juice and zest. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Season the fish fillets. In a small bowl, combine cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and salt. Brush each fillet with olive oil, and sprinkle with spices.

4. Grill and serve. Arrange fillets on grill grate, and cook for 3 minutes per side. In the broiler, arrange fish fillets on the prepared broiling pan and broil for 2 1/2 minutes on each side. For each fiery fish taco, top a corn tortilla with fish, sour cream or yogurt (if using), and corn salsa. Roll up and eat!

Padma’s Bali Baked Fish with Coconut Green Beans

Padma's Bali Baked Fish with Coconut Green Beans

Want something spicy and flavorful? I never would have thought to add coconut to these green beans but it does counter the heat from the chilies and adds a flaky texture that’s quite a surprise outside a dessert. The Bali fish recipe itself is easy to make and cooks up in less than 30 minutes. In fact, I added a garlic-spinach sauté to the combination and it was delicious. These two recipes, Bali Baked Fish and Coconut Green Beans, both come from Padma Lakshmi via Glamour magazine.

Bali Baked Fish
2 pounds red snapper fillets (I used tilapia)
salt and pepper
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon ginger root, sliced into rounds
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 tablespoons water
fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (I used chopped fresh cilantro and scallions)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray cooking spray in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.
Arrange the fillets in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the work bowl of a food processor, add the onion, garlic, ginger root, tamarind paste, sesame oil, cumin, and 1 tablespoon water. Process. If the mixture is too thick, add another tablespoon water. Process until the mixture is puréed.

Pour mixture over the fish fillets. Turn to coat. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle mint on top or cilantro and scallion if using. Serve with Coconut Green Beans and Garlic-Spinach Sauté.

Coconut Green Beans
2 tablespoons canola oil (I used cooking spray)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
2 tablespoons cashews
4 dried red chilies
1 1/2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
Salt

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, add cashews and chilies. Once the cashews are toasted, add green beans and stir. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut and salt. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes while stirring. When green beans are cooked through but crisp-tender, remove from heat.

[My variation: Instead of sautéing the green beans, I blanched them for 3 minutes in boiling water then rinsed them in cold water to stop the cooking process. This makes the beans tender as well as sets a deep green color. I returned them to the skillet to re-heat with the cashew mixture then added the coconut and salt. I cooked the green bean mixture for another 2-3 minutes and it was done.]

Garlic-Spinach Sauté
3-6 oz. fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Chicken stock
Salt and pepper

To make this low calorie, I used chicken stock instead of oil. Heat about 3 tablespoons chicken stock in a large skillet on high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and toss to cook. Add more stock, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Creamy Caesar Fish Fillets with Tomatoes and Onions

Now that it’s Lent it’s become a challenge to go meatless on Fridays. Last weekend Marcy made this dish for dinner. It was so simple to make and so full of flavor I asked Marcy to give me the recipe. I made it and AJ loved it.

Ingredients
3 tilapia fish fillets (any white fish will do)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup spicy hot breadcrumbs (I only had whole wheat on hand)
1 tablespoon oil, plus a little more
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 -1 1/2 cups creamy caesar dressing

Preheat the oven 350˚F. Prepare a 9 inch square baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray. Set aside.

Put the beaten egg in a plate. In another plate, put the breadcrumbs. Dip each fillet in the egg and then dredge in the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a skillet and lightly fry the fillets until light brown. Put them in the prepared dish and set aside. Don’t wash the skillet

To the same skillet,  add a little more oil, if needed, and sauté the onions and tomatoes until just wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Pour the creamy caesar dressing over the fillets in the prepared baking dish. Top with the onions and tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.