Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tilapia with Salsa Verde - Easy














Don't run away yet!  This is not yet another Mexican recipe (not that there's anything wrong with that).  Salsa Verde simply means "green sauce."  It's green from the parsley and scallions (or chives if you still haven't gotten around yet to buying some).  Trust me --this recipe is NOT spicy.  Unless you think dijon mustard burns.

Interesting history to the salsa verde portion of the recipe, which I found a couple years ago at Morsels and Musings.  It was originally called “housekeeper’s recipe,” found in an 1820 cookbook.  I kind of doubt, though, that capers were sold at the local market back then.  Or that dijon mustard was widely available either, especially since it wasn't invented (according to Wikipedia) until 1856, by Jean Naigeon of Dijon, France.  Recipe and history lesson.  A two-fer!   Woo-hoo!

Speaking of dijon mustard, if you don't have any on hand (or in the fridge), you can try substituting plain yellow mustard, but use a little less to avoid overpowering the salsa.

If you prefer a parve recipe, substitute margarine or a little olive oil for the butter.

There is no added salt in this recipe because capers come packed in brine.  But if  that's not enough sodium chloride for you, simply sprinkle a teaspoon of kosher salt evenly over the 4 fillets prior to baking.

Tilapia Salsa Verde 
Based on a recipe from  Morsels and Musings
Serves 4

4 tilapia fillets
1 Tbl. butter, plus a little more to grease the pan
2 scallions (green part)
1/2 cup tightly packed parsley leaves
2 Tbl. capers in brine, drained
2 tsp. chopped garlic (bottled ok)
1/2 Tbl. Dijon mustard
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 450F.  Lightly grease a rimmed baking pan with a little butter, even if it's a non-stick pan (for a little more flavor).

Place the tilapia on said pan.  Roll the very thin sides of the fillet under themselves to prevent overcooking.

Or, if you are like me, slightly overlap the thin sides.  But keep in mind that those thin sides will glue themselves to each other when it's time to plate the fish.














Dot the fish with the butter.  Set aside while waiting for the oven to finish heating up.














Meanwhile, place the parsley and scallions (or chives pretending to be scallions) in a bowl.  Using your (clean) scissors, snip away at the herbs until finely chopped, or until you get really bored.














Notice that it really reduces down.  But don't worry about having enough for everyone.  The salsa is served sparingly, more like a condiment.

If your oven is like mine, it should now be at or close enough to 450F, so place the tilapia in the oven.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the fish just barely starts to brown.














Tilapia fillet is very thin, just like the line between almost done and fish leather :P so if you think the fish is almost done, it's done.














While the fish is baking, continue with the salsa.  Add the capers, garlic, mustard and lemon juice to the herbs.  Stir until combined.














Plate the fish.  Spoon the salsa evenly next to or on fish (to hide cracks made when trying to separate overlapping fillets).  Serve with your favorite veggie.  I usually prefer plain rice plus broccoli, but tonight the guys chose tater tots. *sigh*

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