Thursday, September 13, 2012
Pan-Fried Tilapia with Tomato Basil Sauté – dinner in less than 30 minutes
This is a very easy fish dinner that you can have on the table in less than thirty minutes. I’ve used grape tomatoes, which I find to be reliable year-around. So there’s absolutely no need to save this recipe for summer.
If you happen to have heirloom or homegrown tomatoes, here is a similar recipe you’ll like using salmon that I’ve smothered in heirloom tomatoes & fresh basil. It would work perfectly well for most any fish. Link here.
We always have some fresh basil, either growing in a pot or in our herb garden. This year the basil in our herb garden is still going strong and will be until the first big cold snap; primarily because we’ve kept it pinched back and not let it flower. We’ve also done cuttings and rooted them in water for new plants every couple of weeks. If you buy fresh basil from the store, remember that basil does not like to be cold. Instead of storing it in the refrigerator, I recommend putting the fresh basil in a vase of water just as you would flowers and leave it on your counter and snip as needed.
The colors alone in this dish make it company worthy, whether you use two colors of tomatoes as I’ve done here, or only the red ones. Actually plating the fish on a white platter with only red tomatoes and green basil makes a very striking presentation. Check out the photo from Cooking Light using only red tomatoes and basil served over trout.
The tomatoes moisten the fish and take away the worries of dry fish. If you have left-over tomatoes, they are wonderful the next day over scrambled eggs. Often we make extra pan-fried fish and serve it the next morning, warmed gently, for breakfast with eggs and fruit.
Enjoy this easy fish recipe year-around.
Pan-Fried Tilapia with Tomato Basil Sauté
Adapted from Cooking Light – serves 4, total time 20 minutes
2 ounces chopped bacon or pancetta
2 cups grape (or cherry) tomatoes, halved, red & yellow combo if available
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup small fresh basil leaves, julienned, plus a few small ones for garnish
4 teaspoons canola oil
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
4 lemon wedges
Heat bacon or pancetta in a medium non-stick skillet over low heat. Cook until it begins to brown and color. If you are using bacon and have too much grease left, pour off enough to leave about 1 teaspoon of oil in the pan. Add grape tomatoes halves, minced garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until tomatoes begin to soften. Take care not to let the garlic burn. Remove from the heat and stir in the julienned basil leaves and set aside.
Put 2 teaspoons of canola in a large non-stick skillet and heat pan over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the pan with the oil. Add 2 tilapia fillets to pan and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook fillets 2 minutes on each side until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fish from pan and keep warm. Repeat the process with remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and remaining 2 fillets. Top fish with tomato basil mixture. Garnish with a few small basil leaves and serve with lemon wedges.
This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.