I hate tilapia. For some reason, I’ve always associated it with the awful, rotten-smelling seafood counters at low-end grocery stores. Let me explain. My very first endeavor in cooking fish involved a trip to one of these sad grocery stores. I asked if they had any perch (which was what my recipe called for) and the woman behind the counter wrinkled her nose, scratched her weave with a ballpoint pen and informed me that I could use tilapia instead, or, as she called it, “African perch.”
The fish I went home with not only stunk up my entire apartment while cooking, it also left me hugging the toilet later that night in a severe bout of food poisoning. So, as you can see, tilapia and I have had a rough go of it. But tonight, this little swimmer may have redeemed itself. Of course, I did dump a good amount of wine and butter on top of it, which in my experience, can elevate just about ANYTHING.
So for those of you needing a great weeknight meal and are in a tight budget, schedule or waistband, you’re welcome.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 tilapia filets
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup fresh tomato, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ sections
Mix flour, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder on a plate and dredge tilapia in it, shaking off excess. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté filets in batches until cooked, about 4 minutes per side. Add additional oil while cooking if needed. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to pot and stir in onions and garlic until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and capers and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Next, pour in wine and lemon juice to pan and scrape browned bits off of bottom and sides of pan. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half, stirring often, about 10-15 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add butter into sauce and stir slowly to incorporate only until butter melts and sauce thickens.
Remove from heat and spoon immediately over fish.