15/03/2013

Tilapia with Fennel & Tomato Sauce

Tilapia with Fennel & Tomato Sauce
Tilapia is a fishy fish with a great texture, especially when cooked "just right" ... little more than a couple of minutes on one side in a frying pan, then flipped and the pan removed from the heat to cook through the other side and you'll have perfect tilapia.

Like all fish, tilapia is a very good source of protein, vitamin B12 and selenium. It is a lean fish, so the veggies and sauce will want wetting up with good animal fats: goose fat, for me.

This is a quick dish to put together, the longest part is the roasting time for the squash pieces, but we're done end to end in half an hour. Tomato also satisfies that craving for really strong, flavoursome dishes that accompany white fish so well.

So, half an hour? Let's get started ...

Oven on, set to 180-200C (350-400F?) with an ovenproof dish and some goose fat.

Take a couple of slices off the long end of a squash, peel and half. Settle these in the now melted and warming fat and into the oven. Turn them in about 15 minutes.

Now, make up the sauce.

Shave the fennel straight through the bulb. If your knives are not razors, a vegetable peeler or cheese slicer works wonders here. Chop up some red onion (half an onion for two people was fine, here). Smash a clove of garlic, minced right down and drain a carton of chopped tomatoes - we want the tomato, not all the juice.

In a skillet, melt some fat (yes, goose fat for me), soften the fennel, then the onion, then add in the tomato and the garlic. I like the garlic in last so there is no risk of colouring and burning it; top flavour, too. Add a little of the juice and cook through.

Flavour to suit: sea salt, black pepper, perhaps some chilli, perhaps some umami dust, perhaps even a splash of coconut aminos, Worcestershire Sauce or whatever condiment floats your boat for umami flavouring. This will ensure maximum flavour from the tomato sauce.

Actually, I'm going to switch terminology and now call this a salsa - it is more salsa than sauce.

Segment an orange! Yes, an orange. This works so well with white fish, but with this dish ... I'd yet to find out. It did, so I will endorse this.

Half hour almost up ...

Ready to eat?

Melt some fat in a frying pan (butter, here!) and fry off the tilapia fillets for a couple of minutes on one side, flip and remove from the heat to cook through in the residual heat while you plate up.

Plate about half of the salsa onto a plate, squash piece at one side, fish over the salsa, then more salsa over and orange pieces alongside. Garnish with fresh herbs: parsley, here.

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