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Friday, July 10, 2009

Mediterranean Style Tilapia


A few years ago, I took a 10 week long cooking class that was sponsored through the adult education program of a local high school. It was taught by a man, whose name I sadly cannot remember, who was a personal chef for other people in the area. This class was one of the best experiences I have ever had, and it definitely opened up my eyes to new techniques, cuisines, and flavor combinations that I had never tried before. Since then, I have made the ten recipes many, many times and for some have tweaked them to better suit myself and my husband.

This recipe was from the first night of class, and was originally titled Mediterranean Style Chops as the original recipe calls for pork rather than fish. I would call it Mediterranean Style (Insert Protein Here) because I have now made it successfully with pork, chicken, and as you see here, tilapia. I also think the sauce could be made alone and used on vegetables or even served just with crusty bread because it is THAT delicious. In fact, I think a little bit of leftover sauce ended up spooned over the green beans you see in the picture.

The original recipe serves four, but I usually halve it since it is just me and my husband. The recipe also reflects my personal changes, such as using white wine instead of marsala, and of course the change in protein. Also, don’t be afraid of the long ingredient list – everything melds together nicely and it is worth the work of chopping and measuring everything out. It is savory from the onions and garlic, sweet from the tomatoes, raisins and sugar, salty from the olives and capers, and tangy from the vinegar and lemon zest. You definitely don’t want to miss out on any of this flavor adventure!

I also think this would make an excellent vegetarian dish by subbing vegetable broth for the chicken broth and either omitting the protein or using tofu or tempeh.

Mediterranean Style Tilapia

  • 4 tilapia filets
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced onions
  • 1 c. golden raisins
  • 2 T. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped roma tomatoes
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. white wine vinegar
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 t. oregano
  • 1/2 c. pimento stuffed olives
  • 2 T. capers, drained and crushed
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 T. lemon zest

Heat oil over medium high heat, then add onions and sauté for three minutes. Add the garlic and raisins and cook for one minute.

Deglaze the pan with the wine, then stir in tomatoes, broth, vinegar, sugar, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then nestle the tilapia filets into the sauce. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the olives and capers and simmer until heated through. Garnish with parsley and lemon zest.

* Note: If you make this recipe with chicken or pork, begin by searing the meat (either plain or dredged in flour) on both sides, then remove from the pan and follow the rest of the recipe as written. Return the meat to the pan where the directions say to add the tilapia filets.

When we made this recipe in class, it was served with orzo mixed with olive oil and parmesan cheese. In the picture, however, you can see I used brown rice. I think this would go well with any kind of small pasta or grain, so have fun mixing and matching!


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thenotsoskinnykitchen said...

This sounds so good! I'm a little wary of the raisins though. How do you think this would be without them or do you think they really add something? I don't dislike raisins, I'm just having a hard time imagining them on fish.

Rachel said...

Liz, the first time I read the recipe I was wary of the raisins too (and the capers - at that point I had never heard of them). They actually absorb a lot of the flavor since they are added early in the recipe, but also give the dish a nice sweetness. I don't think it would change it that much to leave them out, though, if you really don't like the sound of it.

Jamie said...


Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog and for stopping by.

Also, we love fish around here and since my husband is half Greek, I know he would like all the flavors in this dish.

Thanks for sharing.

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