Monday, January 11, 2010

Joey's Garlic Tilapia

When I was little, I must admit, I would have chosen a hamburger over a fish fillet 10 times out of 10. To me, fish always tasted, well, too "fishy". I always loved shellfish like shrimp and crab and lobster, but when it came to a simple fillet, I wasn't having it. Then as I got older, my tastes began to change. Now I enjoy a nice fresh fillet whenever the mood strikes me. One of the main reasons for this change is the discovery of tilapia. It's light and flaky and delicious and definitely NOT "fishy". My sister, Reen, made it one night for dinner and it only took one bite for me to know that this was my new favorite fish. I also tasted it when I stopped for a visit with Tony and Dina. Dina had just finished breading some tilapia fillets with Panko bread crumbs and frying them up in a pan. They were SO crunchy and delicious! I knew I had to try them. So, since I'm always looking for new and delicious low-carb recipes, I decided to omit the bread crumbs and try the butter/garlic route instead. And here we are! Even if you're not a fan of fish fillets, you have to give this a try!

4 tbs butter
1 whole head of garlic, about 20 cloves
3 large fillets of fresh tilapia or other favorite fish, about one pound
Kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

In a large skillet, over a medium low heat, melt the butter. Peel and slice all the cloves of garlic and add to the skillet. Gently saute over low heat, being careful not to burn. You just want it to sizzle slightly and gradually turn golden. Be patient! This should take a good 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, pat the fillets dry, and season both sides with salt and pepper. When the garlic just begins to crisp, remove it from the pan (leaving the garlic infused butter in the pan) and set aside in a small bowl. Place the fillets in the pan and turn the heat up to medium, not too high. Remember, you don't want to burn the butter. Saute the fillets until just cooked through. You'll know it's done when it easily flakes apart with a fork. When the fillets are just about done, add the garlic back to the pan. Let it simmer for just a minute or two longer. Serve with your favorite vegetable and a light salad.

Yes, the recipe is correct. TWENTY cloves of garlic. The whole head. You'll be amazed at how mildly sweet and sticky and delicious the garlic becomes once it softens in the butter and begins to caramelize. To be honest, I'm tempted to add more! I'm not even kidding when I tell you it's sheer heaven!
Usually when I make this, I stop at the supermarket and buy the fillets fresh from the seafood counter the actual day I'm going to cook it. It just tastes fresher! I've made it with frozen tilapia and there's just no comparison. I'm guessing the fillets from the seafood counter were previously frozen at some point, but they just taste better than the ones from your grocers freezer.
As you can see from the picture, I like to serve it with a little fresh sauteed baby spinach. After I take the fish and garlic out of the pan, I add the spinach to the remaining garlic butter and let it saute just until it wilts. There's no need to add any seasoning since the butter is already full of flavor!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This recipe was AWESOME! I get to test your recipes with you often but don't have much opportunity to actually put one of them to use. Thanks for having this recipe and site available. I know I am always telling friends about it. You're the best.