So I am trying to juggle this whole blogging thing with keeping up with my home upkeep, family, hobby farm, Master’s degree program, cycling training and soap/lotion making… this morning the laundry won out and the tilapia recipe blog post got pushed to the back burner.
However, here it is! I love fish and with my mammal meat allergy it is a “safe food” for me (woohoo for fish not being a mammal!) so we eat quite a bit of it. My sons devour all fish but especially love lighter fish like tilapia and mahi mahi. We are all suckers for a great haddock or swordfish steak on the grill as well, yum!
Admittedly I will not be eating fish again for a little bit because I WAY overindulged eating way too much… I was stuffed to the gills!
**hehe I seriously just laughed at my own little joke right there.
This has got to be one of the easiest recipes I make. I usually make up a big batch of the mango cucumber salsa so I can snack for days with chips. It keeps remarkably well and much longer than tomato based salsas.
Tilapia with (or without) Mango Cucumber Salsa
What you will need:
Mango Cucumber Salsa: This is enough for 4 to 6 filets, feel free to double or triple for late night snacking with some tortilla chips!
2 ripe mangos : (gives a little when squeezed, reddish in color but you do not want mushy or big brown spots, peeled), sliced (there’s an oblong pit in the middle that runs almost the length of the mango, I just slice off the four sides, dice those up then slice off whatever other pieces I can away from the pit and try not to eat them all), and medium diced.
2 cucumbers: medium to small or 1 large. Peel, slice in half long ways and scoop out the seeds with a spoon (you should be able to just run the spoon down the middle and get them out easily). Medium dice the cucumber(s). You can also buy the seedless English cucumbers and just dice them.
1/4 to 1/2 of a red onion: diced small
2 jalapenoes: Diced small. Wear gloves if you will be handling little kids or babies afterwards.
Cilantro: YUM! I love cilantro so I add a lot. Normal people would proabbly add about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.
Lime Juice: The juice of one lime or 1 tsp of lime juice from a bottle (or those cute little plastic lime things)
Salt and Pepper to taste: I use a tiny pinch of pepper and two tiny pinches of salt
Mix it all together and put it in the fridge.
On to the fish!
Get yourself some fish filets (tilapia, mahi mahi, any light fish is good for this). I always keep a couple pounds in the freezer because they thaw super fast and are a great last minute meal. We cook 2 pounds of fish at a time but once again, when my boys find a food they like they eat us out of house and home and they like fish.
Olive oil (optional… you can also use butter to cook the fish)
Old Bay Blackened Seasoning (or make your own using this recipe… Blackened Fish Seasoning)
Butter (optional)…Oldest son loves to dip his pieces of fish in melted butter rather than eating the mango cucumber salsa. It is usually recommended to cook your fish in butter but we have switched over to olive oil because it’s a slightly healthier alternative (you get a better crust with butter) and youngest son doesn’t like his fish as crusty.
Directions: There’s two ways to make this fish… either in butter or in olive oil. Butter will create more of a crust on your fish which is super yummy but we do olive oil because the rest of my family does not bleed dairy. I’ll give you directions for both ways…
1. Melt enough butter in your pan (I love cooking fish in cast iron cookware as it helps get a nice crust) on medium heat so that it will cover the bottom (yes this may mean almost a stick of butter… skip down to olive oil if you are scared you may clog every artery in your body… I was born and raised in Wisconsin so we have butter flowing through our veins)
2. Melt a little more butter in a dish that you can drench the fish in (in other words both sides of each filet will be covered in butter as you will be bathing the fish in butter).
3. Drench (lay) each fish filet in the butter and sprinkle very liberally with Old Bay Blackened Seasoning or your homemade version (link here)
4. You will want some sort of splatter screen for your pan… Now turn up the heat to medium-high and cook on one side until blackened and somewhat crispy. Flip over and cook the other side. Add a little more butter whenever necessary. If family members (youngest son wannabes) do not like their fish as crispy just do not cook as long or use the olive oil method below.
5. Remove from pan, plate and add your salsa (if you want) or melt more butter to dip fish in (if you are an oldest son wannabe).
Olive Oil Directions:
1. Heat 4 Tablespoons of olive over medium heat.
2. Drench (lay) each fish filet in a dish or plate of olive oil and sprinkle very liberally with Old Bay Blackened Seasoning or your homemade version (link here)
4. You will want some sort of splatter screen for your pan… Now turn up the heat to medium-high and cook on one side until blackened and somewhat crispy. Flip over and cook the other side. Add a little more olive oil whenever necessary. If family members (youngest son wannabes) do not like their fish as crispy just do not cook as long.
5. Remove from pan, plate and add your salsa (if you want) or melt butter to dip fish in (if you are an oldest son wannabe).
So I totally forgot to take a picture with the fish in the pan to show you what they look like when you flip because my family was way hungry and fussing at me to stop taking pictures and just cook supper already! Imagine fish in this pan and you’ll get the picture…
The nice thing about this recipe is it lends itself well to the entire family and many different side dishes. We chose a spring mix salad and Jasmine Saffron rice (recipe here). Many nights we just cook up some jasmine or brown rice and have a great fish dinner. The boys like their’s without the mango salsa which is easy enough 🙂