Sunday, July 24, 2011

Baked Tilapia with a Tomato-Feta Sauce

It's hot in New York.  Yeah, I know, I live in New Jersey.  Guess what? New Jersey's hot too.

In times like these, it's best to stick to eating some form of ice cream.  Unfortunately, since I've been really busy in the last few months and also started working out 3-4 days a week, I've discovered (the hard way, of course) that I should probably eat something with at least a smidgen of nutritional value on a somewhat regular basis.

I remembered that Kevin over at Closet Cooking had made a tasty-looking fish dish on his blog a while ago.  A light fish dish is exactly what I needed to counteract the heaviness of the weather.  I'd never made anything with fish before either, so this would be a new challenge for me.

Baked Tilapia with a Tomato-Feta Sauce

Serves 4-6

  • 5 filets of tilapia (~1 1/2 lbs of fish)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • habanero sauce (or chili pepper flakes), to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I used Riesling)
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice to taste

1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.

2. Saute the onion for 5-7 minutes, or until tender.

3. Add the garlic and habanero sauce and saute for another minute.

4. Pour in the white wine and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Add the tomatoes and oregano.  Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce just starts to thicken.  (Tip: You may want to begin preheating the oven at this point.)

6. Remove the sauce from heat and add the herbs, feta and season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Lightly spray a baking dish and place the tilapia in the dish.

8. Pour the sauce over the fish fillets.

9. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until the fish is cooked, about 20 - 25 minutes*. The cod will be cooked when it flakes easily and it is no longer translucent.

*The original recipe states that the fish should be cooked in 10-12 minutes.  My fish was definitely not cooked until about 25 minutes had passed.  And no, it wasn't dry after that amount of time in the oven, either.  I would suggest starting to check on the fish after 10 minutes and periodically thereafter, until it's cooked through.

10. Sprinkle with lemon juice to taste.

I never knew that cooking with fish would be so easy.  Since this is all new territory for me, I'm pretty proud of it.  The fish turned out to tender and flaky and the sauce was fresh and light, but slightly tart.  I think I was a little heavy-handed with the dill so I would cut back on that the next time I make this.  If you love dill, then go for it.  I personally have a great relationship with feta cheese so I would double up on that next time.

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