Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mmm... Tilapia and Garlic and Olives....

Farm raised tilapia is inexpensive, has the lowest risk of mercury poisoning of any fish, and generally is pretty eco-friendly.
It's a delicate white fish and can be bland. But add a flavorsome sauce and you have a meal that is so delicious you'll keep forgetting that it's healthy.
The original recipe for this was from "The Stinking Rose Cookbook" as "Hawaiian Sunfish With Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic and Olives" and was reprinted in the Washington Post. I had the clipping on my fridge for several years, finally tried it a month ago and cooked it for the second time last night.
The Post replaced oven roasting the garlic with cooking it in the microwave. I've gone further--instead of cooking the cloves skins and all, then squeezing out the paste, I prefer to peel them first, cook them and puree them in a tiny food processor. I also cook the fillets on a tiny Foreman grill instead of pan cooking them. Either way they take just minutes to cook, and this whole meal can go together in about 30 minutes--all the work is in the preparation of the garlic, olives and tomatoes.
1 pound of tilapia fillets
1 head of garlic (at least)
12 ounces of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 Kalamata olives, halved
olive oil--and ignore that twit Rachel Ray--you don't need her frickin' "EVOO" 

Put a small pan of water up to boil.
While it's boiling, prep the tomatoes and olives and put them in a bowl to one side.
Break up the garlic head into cloves. As soon as the water boils, toss the cloves in.
After 2 minutes, drain the cloves and cool them under running water. The skins will come off easily.

Put the cloves in a small dish or bowl and pour a small amount of olive oil over them.
Microwave on a very low setting for 2-5 minutes, checking occasionally until the garlic softens.

Place garlic and oil in a food processor or blender (or you can do this by hand) and puree.

Season the fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Cook them in a heated oiled skillet for 2 minutes per side. Fish will be opaque when it's done. Remove to a serving plate.
Put the tomatoes, olives and garlic paste in the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes to heat. You can add an extra slurp of olive oil if you want more of a sauce.
Serve the fish over rice and top with the sauce. You can garnish it with basil, but it's flavorful as is!

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