blackened tilapia

This blog can be a little deceiving. I can easily convince you that I somehow know what I am doing and miraculously I end up with a half-decent meal on the table. Unfortunately, I often find myself with a strange medley of ingredients that I have to somehow combine to create an edible dinner. The process begins with text messages discussing what we have, what could easily be picked up or quickly made, whether we’ll be spending the night vomiting, and finally admitting that it is perhaps time to visit the grocery store. These concoctions don’t exactly make the cut for a blog-worthy meal. Martin likes to say that these posts belong on the other (non-existent) blog “what my wife really makes.”

However, once in a while, when I find myself with just the right ingredients, I can actually pull of something good. We found ourselves in the above situation a few nights ago but we’re lucky enough to sit down to a rather tasty dinner. I was reluctant to blacken tilapia, I like fish nice and light with just a few ingredients but I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe. We ate our fish with an arugula and beet salad, admittedly the poached egg on top was a bit much but we’re suckers for runny eggs.

Blackened Tilapia

3 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried ground thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp garlic powder
4 tilapia fillets
2 tbsp canola oil

In a small bowl combine all of the spices. Generously cover spice mix onto each fillet so that both sides are well coated. Allow the fish to sit for 15 minutes at room temperature prior to cooking. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is almost smoking add the fillets, 2 at a time and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Recipe Notes: If you like your fish spicy, I would recommend increasing the cayenne pepper, I thought it could use a bit of a kick. Be sure to carefully flip the fillets, they are delicate!


Salmon with arugula, tomato, and caper salad

I have a confession. I ate a samosa! The first day of Ramadan! Who knew I would break so quickly? But, it’s not entirely my fault. I did not personally fry the samosa. It was not consumed in my home. I am not to blame! Several friends came together and decided to break fast on the first day of Ramadan. It was lovely, the food was wonderful, and the company even better. I’m pretty sure I see friends more frequently during Ramadan than any other time of year. The only drawback is that I eat too much. Ordinarily this isn’t a problem. I don’t mind eating well once in a while. But this year has been different. The usual heavy Ramadan cuisine hasn’t been working for me. I’ve been craving the crisp crunch of vegetables, and the sweetness of fruit. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather eat than an eggplant!

Which brings me to this lovely, refreshing and rather light salmon dish. Its nothing fancy, but it was so nice and light and didn’t give me that sluggish weighed down feeling.


Serving Size: 4

1 large plum tomatoes chopped
3/4 cup (lightly packed) chopped fresh arugula, basil, or italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon drained capers

4 6-ounce salmon fillets
olive oil
lemon wedges

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler. Brush both sides of salmon with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange salmon skin side down on broiler tray. Broil without turning until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes. Transfer salmon to plates. Spoon salad onto plate. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

Recipe Notes: Thanks Bonappétit cookbook! I ended up making more salad and 2 pieces of salmon. I wasn’t sure what I would do with all the arugula I purchased so we had a generous salad accompanying our salmon. I also did not use shallots. I accidentally broiled the fish for 5 minutes, and it was just slightly overcooked. Follow the recipe, 4 minutes is perfect!

Pan-Seared Tuna

A few days ago a co-worker had tuna. And it smelled like… tuna. After the odor dissipated, I ventured into the kitchen to retrieve my own (fragrance free) lunch. There I spied both an empty tuna can and an avocado skin.

I don’t know why this seemed so intriguing. I’ve made an avocado dressing with salmon burgers before, but for some reason, I needed avocado and tuna. After a quick search (I only really looked at one recipe), I found a recipe for Pan-Seared Tuna.

A couple notes of caution. This is raw- like pink in the middle raw. I also spent $17 one one steak of tuna that the butcher said would be enough for two – and it was enough, but $17!!!

This was my first time preparing raw fish, so in hopes of ensuring that neither of us would be vomiting sashimi all night long I went for fresh fish I could trust. Martin suspects we were really paying for the Mercury.

That said, it was delicious! We really enjoyed the fresh flavor of the tuna, the creaminess of the avocado and the tartness of the lime altogether. It reminded me a bit of ceviche.

Gut Reaction: Redo!

Recipe Notes: I stuck to the recipe as-is, but I added a bit of hot sauce for extra kick. I’m sure Siracha would be just fine.