You learn something new every day. I was about to tell you that this is the 5th Friday of Lent, but I would have been wrong. Sure, it’s the 5th Friday after Ash Wednesday, but apparently when counting Lenten Fridays, that first one doesn’t count because it is not preceded by a Sunday of Lent. Do you have a headache now? So confusing.
Regardless if you count this as the 4th, 5th or just another Friday, seafood is an important part of our diet. There are some people who don’t care much for Tilapia because they are wrongly accused of being “bottom feeders”. In the wild, Tilapia tend to feed in the middle, although in times of shortages, they will feed at the bottom. The whole bottom-feeding dilemma can be be avoided simply by buying farm-raised Tilapia. Farm-raised fish of any kind is just better. Their diet is controlled, they are sustainable and better all the way around. When looking for farm-raised fish, be sure to check the country of origin as well. Some countries are more stringent, others more relaxed when it comes to regulating foods.
The thing that I like about Tilapia is that it is very mild. The sauces and seasonings are what make Tilapia sing. This recipe is very similar to my all-time favorite, the Piccata. The different is the use of Chicken Stock rather than white wine. You could also substitute Peppercorns for the Capers. And no, Green Peppercorns and Capers are not the same thing. They look very much alike, and can stand in for one another in most dishes, but they are not the same. I like the flavor of pickled capers. Capers are the unripened flower buds of Capparis Spinosa, a prickly, perennial plant which is native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Green peppercorns are true peppercorns of the Piper Nigrium flowering vine plant, which originated in India. Green peppercorns are really unripe black peppercorns. Play around with the recipe, see which you prefer.
Sautéed Tilapia with Lemon-Caper Pan Sauce
3/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Capers, drained
1 tablespoons Butter
1/2 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
4 Tilapia Fillets
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Flour
2 tablespoons Butter
Lemon Wedges, optional garnish
Combine Chicken Stock, Lemon Juice and Capers. Set aside.
Melt 1 teaspoon of butter with oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.
While butter melts, sprinkle fish fillets with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour; shake off excess flour.
Swirl the pan to blend the oil and butter. Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until butter turns golden brown.
Add fillets to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fillets from pan, plate and keep warm.
Add broth mixture to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Whisk in the butter until the sauce is smooth. Serve sauce over fillets. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.
This simple dish goes beautifully with a simple side of buttery rice and a green salad.