Genève’s Kitchen

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Plenty of Fish in the Sea

July 22nd, 2006 · 3 Comments

tilapia.jpgI often start thinking about dinner sometime in the morning.  I mentally plan what I'll prepare, what ingredients I have and what I need to pick up from the store or market.  I knew I was going to be in the mood for fish tonight because, well, I'm always in the mood for seafood (I really didn't mean to rhyme there).  The question was, how would I prepare it?  One of my favorite things to do with fish is to actually prepare it quite simply, either grill it or broil it with just salt, pepper, olive oil, and then create a delicious salsa, pesto, or sauce to accompany it.  Today I created a cilantro pesto – I used what I happened to have on hand and I'm quite pleased with the results.  The beauty of creating a sauce, pesto, or salsa is that you can then use it later in the week to go with another dish.

A twist on my usual grilled fish was that this time after seasoning with some salt and pepper, I dredged it into some flour and sauteed it.  This gave the fish a great crispy crust that went very nicely with the delicate flaky tilapia.  The cilantro pesto was fresh and had a nice zing from the lemon juice and the few dashes of hot sauce that I added.  

Tilapia with Cilantro Pesto

For the Cilantro Pesto:

  • 2 Handfuls of cilantro
  • 1 Small handful of baby spinach
  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (begin by adding 2 tablespoons and then add more to create a smoother consistency if necessary)
  • 1/2 Garlic clove
  • 1/4 Teaspoon sea salt (start with this and then taste to adjust the seasoning)
  • 2 Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • Hot sauce (I only added a few dashes but add as much or as little as you like)

1)  In a food processor combine all of the ingredients and blend to form a paste – taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

For the fish:

  • Tilapia (or any fillet of fish that you like and that is fresh at the store – as far as quantities go I usually factor about a 1/4 lb per person)
  • Sea salt/Pepper to season the fish (use just a pinch for each side of the fillets)
  • Flour (enough to dredge your fillets with a light coating of flour)
  • Olive oil for coating the pan

1)  Season your fillets with salt and pepper.  Place the flour on a plate and lightly coat each fillet with the flour evenly on both sides.  Shake off any excess.

2)  Heat a pan over medium heat and add olive oil to lightly coat the pan (a tablespoon or two).  You want there to be a sizzle when the fish is placed in the pan so to check I just flick a little bit of water to test it.  Once it's hot enough add the fillets and allow it to cook for about 3-4 minutes and check to see if it's nicely browned once it's turned a lovely golden brown use a large spatula to flip it over.  Allow it to cook for another 3-4 minutes.  If you're cooking a thick piece of fish these times will take longer – but you'll know it's ready by looking for the nice coloring.  If the fish is a little bit thick sometimes I'll loosely place a piece of aluminum over the pan to hold in the heat and cook the fish through.  You'll know the fish is ready because it will flake easily (you can use a fork to check) and it will have a golden crust. 

Serve the fish with the cilantro pesto.  Enjoy!

Tags: Entree · Fish · Sauces/Spreads

3 responses so far ↓

  • Ivonne // Jul 22, 2006 at 4:33 pm


    Like you, I start thinking about dinner shortly after I’ve finished my breakfast! And with a dinner like this, why wouldn’t we!

    I love tilapia and I love your preparation!

  • Tanna // Jul 23, 2006 at 12:39 am

    This looks excellent. Yes, I also start thinking about dinner about breakfast time. Isn’t tilapia just the best -I’ve been grilling mine mostly but this looks really beautiful. Basil pesto is so very common but that’s what I have a tons of growing outside, no cilantro – way to hot.

  • From Our Kitchen // Jul 24, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    Cilantro has such a wonderful smell. I love to use it just so I can take in big whifs of it while I cook. I bet the pesto has a great aroma.