Wednesday, March 05, 2008

more more more

Back again with the newest dinner sensation. This was based on a recipe found on the back of the packaging for the unseasoned IQF tilapia fillets I bought at Costco.

There were substitutions this time, as well, which shouldn't really shock anyone at this point, even if I am only three installments in to my recipe series. They are borne of several circumstances. [A] I do not have the ingredient(s) in my kitchen when I begin preparing. [B] One or both of us have a particular disinclination toward the ingredient(s). [C] Modification for the purpose of reducing sodium.

Here we go!

Captain's Mediterranean Tilapia
(makes two servings)

o 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
o 1 Tablespoon dried onion flakes
o 2 tilapia fillets
o 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
o Freshly ground sea salt
o Freshly ground black pepper
o 4 teaspoons dried basil
o 1 large tomato, cut into six even slices
o 12 Kalamata olives, chopped

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Drizzle olive oil evenly over bottom of Pyrex dish. Sprinkle dried onion, then set tilapia fillets down.

Step 2: For each tilapia fillet, add a pinch of sea salt and a sprinkling of black pepper. Then spread one tablespoon of garlic and half of the Kalamata olives on each, and top each with three tomato slices. Finally, sprinkle two teaspoons of dried basil over top of each.

Step 3: Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flaky.

Note 1: You may notice that I use sea salt in particular when salt is called for. There is a reason for that. It has less sodium than regular table salt, and includes additional minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It also has slightly different (and in my opinion, better) flavor and texture. I have coarse sea salt in the same type of grinder as the black pepper -- hence my inclusion of "freshly ground sea salt." Some people balk at the substitution of table salt with sea salt because the introduction of iodine into refined salt addresses the problem of potential iodine deficiency, which can lead to thyroid problems. That said, a normal diet that includes seafood, vegetables, and eggs more than compensates for the loss of iodized salt.

Note 2: The Kalamata olives that I used come in a jar with a marinade of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sea salt (there it is again!). I also drizzled one teaspoon of the marinade over each fillet before anything else. Yes, more sodium, but fantastic flavor.

Note 3: The original recipe called for Vidalia onions to be saute├ęd in EVOO and used as a bed for the tilapia. Sounds yummy, but without going into specifics, let's just say that whole onions don't work for us. The dried flakes are enough to give it a little zip of onion flavor.

Note 4: I served this with fresh steamed whole baby spinach (yes, the same side veg for a whole week, because I buy a giant bag of it at -- where else? -- Costco). Instead of having a starch with dinner, we had some raw carrots as an appetizer. In fact, I realized that, with the exception of the olives and tomatoes, every single ingredient of our dinner originated at Costco. Viva la Kirkland Signature!

This dish is a keeper for us. Thanks to High Liner Foods, whose recipe I used as a jumping off point.

Post Script: The picture above is not what my version of this dish looked like at all (although it is "tomato tilapia"). It is a random photo I found on the Internet. Maybe someday I'll be so motivated as to photograph my own cooking. Don't count on it anytime soon. Sound familiar?

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