The Husband: Let's invite X to dinner tomorrow night. We can make some fish.
Me: But fish makes everyone so sad.
The Husband: No, fish only makes you sad.
The comedian in me would love to end this interchange with the line: "We had pork" ... but to tell the truth ... I acquiesced. I gave in. I made them some fish.
Long time readers will recognize this recipe as a variation on my Chicken Vera Cruz, but in all honesty this preparation is really best when used with fish. Naturally, I like to use a mild fish, something like tilapia, but any sturdy white fillet will do. I added some zucchini to the mix this time and it was a welcome addition indeed.
Tilapia a la Vera Cruz:
- 3 fresh tilapia fillets
- 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp. good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- the leaves from 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp. jarred Marinara sauce - any brand without sugar
- 1 large zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into half moons
- 10 large pimento stuffed green olives, sliced
- some snipped fresh dill
In a small bowl, combine the grape tomatoes, shallot, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, chopped parsley and fresh thyme. Mix to combine adding a pinch of Kosher salt and a generous grating of fresh black pepper. Reserve.
Place each fillet on a large piece of aluminum foil and surround with the zucchini slices. You'll be forming a packet, so position the fish about 2 or 3 inches from one side of the foil. Spread 1 tbsp. of Marinara sauce over each fillet. Spoon the tomato/onion mixture over all the fillets in equal measure. Top with the olives and a bit of snipped fresh dill, to taste. Fold foil up and over the dressed fillets, sealing edges and sides to form a packet.
Place the packets on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake on the middle rack of the oven for @ 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fillets. Larger pieces may need more time, thinner ones less - you're smart, you'll figure it out. Mine were finished after 22 minutes. Remove from the oven, open the packets very carefully - as the steam will be HOT - serve and enjoy!
You can alert the media - I ate the fish ... and it was spectacular. So moist and tender and the savory topping is just flat out scrumptious! I wish I had taken a picture of the fish on the plate - but fish goes cold in .1 seconds, so we just dug in and scarffed it down! The first picture is prior to baking and the second was taken after we opened the packet. This dish is quick, easy, super healthy and makes a beautiful presentation. As written this recipe will serve three. I hope you'll try it!
Turns out that not all fish makes everyone sad. Quite the opposite in fact, we were three very happy diners indeed. This meal will make your wallet happy too. Chances are you'll have most of the ingredients on hand - and tilapia requires only a minimal investment. Its one of the least expensive types of fish. I reckon this dish costs roughly $4.00 per person ... and that's New York City pricing so it may be even less depending on where you shop. Tilapia runs about $6.99 per pound making this meal easy on both your waistline and your pocketbook. Bonus!
So, what's your favorite way to prepare fish? Curious Diva wants to know.