Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pan-Fried Tilapia with Tomato Basil Sauté – dinner in less than 30 minutes




This is a very easy fish dinner that you can have on the table in less than thirty minutes. I’ve used grape tomatoes, which I find to be reliable year-around. So there’s absolutely no need to save this recipe for summer.

If you happen to have heirloom or homegrown tomatoes, here is a similar recipe you’ll like using salmon that I’ve smothered in heirloom tomatoes & fresh basil. It would work perfectly well for most any fish. Link here.



We always have some fresh basil, either growing in a pot or in our herb garden. This year the basil in our herb garden is still going strong and will be until the first big cold snap; primarily because we’ve kept it pinched back and not let it flower. We’ve also done cuttings and rooted them in water for new plants every couple of weeks. If you buy fresh basil from the store, remember that basil does not like to be cold. Instead of storing it in the refrigerator, I recommend putting the fresh basil in a vase of water just as you would flowers and leave it on your counter and snip as needed.

The colors alone in this dish make it company worthy, whether you use two colors of tomatoes as I’ve done here, or only the red ones. Actually plating the fish on a white platter with only red tomatoes and green basil makes a very striking presentation.  Check out the photo from Cooking Light using only red tomatoes and basil served over trout.

The tomatoes moisten the fish and take away the worries of dry fish. If you have left-over tomatoes, they are wonderful the next day over scrambled eggs. Often we make extra pan-fried fish and serve it the next morning, warmed gently, for breakfast with eggs and fruit.

Enjoy this easy fish recipe year-around.



Pan-Fried Tilapia with Tomato Basil Sauté
Adapted from Cooking Light – serves 4, total time 20 minutes

2 ounces chopped bacon or pancetta
2 cups grape (or cherry) tomatoes, halved, red & yellow combo if available
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup small fresh basil leaves, julienned, plus a few small ones for garnish
4 teaspoons canola oil
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
4 lemon wedges

Heat bacon or pancetta in a medium non-stick skillet over low heat. Cook until it begins to brown and color. If you are using bacon and have too much grease left, pour off enough to leave about 1 teaspoon of oil in the pan. Add grape tomatoes halves, minced garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until tomatoes begin to soften. Take care not to let the garlic burn. Remove from the heat and stir in the julienned basil leaves and set aside.

Put 2 teaspoons of canola in a large non-stick skillet and heat pan over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the pan with the oil. Add 2 tilapia fillets to pan and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook fillets 2 minutes on each side until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fish from pan and keep warm. Repeat the process with remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and remaining 2 fillets. Top fish with tomato basil mixture. Garnish with a few small basil leaves and serve with lemon wedges.




This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper, On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable, and Food on Friday at Carole's Chatter.


47 comments:

  1. Can't believe this just took 30 minutes to prepare! It looks like from a gourmet restaurant!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Scrumptious and colorful! Tilapia is an inexpensive fish which is really tasty.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  3. Almost like Bruschetta topping..I love adding things like this on my fish..we did last night too..J had tilapia..I had pegasus(sp?)
    It looks wonderful..I agree w /the cherry tomatoes..especially the Costco ones for me..

    ReplyDelete
  4. I do something similar - only I roast the fish and no bacon. I'm convinced everything's better with bacon so will be doing this. It's the perfect end-of-summer meal - packed with freshness and wonderful color.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That looks great Sam. We pinch out basil back too and it is still growing strong.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like fish prepared just about any way, but pan frying is my favorite. Your presentation is magnificent as always.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a flavourful dish Sam. You're right, ingredients like fresh basil and cherry tomatoes are available to us all year round so nothing is stopping us from making this dish.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yummy! I am always looking for something different to do with fish.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds good to me, love pan-fried fish! I posted about the same thing, only baked. Like you kind of said, easy and quick!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sam, this is simply beautiful. In my view a perfect dish, healthy, elegant and finish in a flash. Delicious
    Mary x

    ReplyDelete
  11. We had tilapia in a restaurant last week which was delicious. I have never seen it for sale, guess I need to look harder! Take care Diane

    ReplyDelete
  12. It looks delicious. I love tilapia; it's so mild.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I often look at tilapia but I haven't had a really good recipe ........... until now! This look fantastic, such pretty colors.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, yes -- bright colors and flavors!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Sam,
    What a lovely presentation for your Pan Fried Tilapia with Tomato Basil Saute'. Since returning from the Oregon Coast,we have been enjoying more fish on our menu and this will be a prefect recipe for us to try, it looks delicious.

    Hope you are having a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  16. This dish looks amazing…so vibrant and delicious looking, too! Great photos and presentation!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your blog looks wonderul. I hope you will check out mine. You make my kind of food.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sam, you have become my "go-to" cook! I still have fresh basil and just bought Alabama grown cherry tomatoes. We have easy access to many types of fish and I will pick up some for our Saturday dinner.

    Just fabulous!

    Bises,
    Genie

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh my gosh that looks AMAZING! Amazing. Delicious. I want some:).

    ReplyDelete
  20. love quick and healthy meals like this perfection

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yummy. Love how healthy this dish is and how quick it can be at the table.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh, Sam, I love the bacon-cherry tomato sauté and it is something I would even make to serve over pasta. But the fish is beautiful! Perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  23. This looks like a beautiful winner to me!

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  24. The tomato-basil saute sounds like a delicious side for fish, Sam! I'd love to try this over tilapia just as you did.

    This is the first year I started basil seeds in the middle of summer so I'd have good basil growing at the end of the season. I'm so glad I did! I also appreciate your tip on keeping basil on the kitchen counter in a vase instead of the frig.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm literally drooling. It's dinner time here and I haven't started. I wish this would magically appear before me, Sam, this looks incredible! I love your idea of having the leftovers for breakfast with eggs, that's inspired!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I can't remember the last time I made pan fried tilapia- I like it especially smothered with tomatoes and basil! I will have to remember to pick up a healthy piece of fish and use up my tomatoes and basil before the weather turns cold;-)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love when you use basil I love basil and this look stunning!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Beautiful presentation, Sam! Lots of flavors in your dish too....fish can be so boring if not prepared well. You did a lovely job. I may live in an apartment, but I always have a little herb garden in my kitchen window....including basil. I use it the most, although thyme is running a close second.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Beautiful recipe Sam. This has been a crazy summer so sorry for the sporadic comments. My best to you both.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love fish seasoned with pork... excellent salsa. Thanks for sharing this recipe on foodie friday.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This looks excellent Sam!! Wow, I'm hungry!! Thanks for sharing at Foodtastic Friday!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Yum, this looks delicious! We like tilapia and this is a great topping. Also, thanks for the tip about the basil going into a vase of water. I have SOOO much this year and I need to do something with it quickly, before the first freeze. Linda

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh my eyes are just devouring this dish - what beautiful photos!! Sam, I didn't know you could root basil from cuttings. My basil has been going crazy this year - it has never looked so good. But unfortunately, it's all flowered out now... interestingly enough, I've discovered that my hummingbirds like the flowers! Can I cut off a piece and put it in water to get a new plant started? I have a sun room at my new house and bet I could keep a basil plant alive through the winter this year. I also have a sunny bump out window...whatever it's called... a greenhouse window?... over the kitchen sink. I want to try to keep a few of my cooking herbs going this year.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Brenda, you can cut off several pieces (as many as you want actually) and put the in a jar of water to root. You could keep doing this all year long from the ones you grow in a pot during the winter.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  35. I love tilapia and am always on the hunt for new recipes to try! Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. oh my..your pictures are just beautiful..a feast for the eyes first! love this recipe...

    ReplyDelete
  37. Nice article and good photos..........a great blog

    ReplyDelete
  38. Sam, I can pick your images out at OTMM! This is such a great healthy fast main dish. I have just a few pear tomatoes and grape tomatoes on the vine. They would taste so yummy in this beautiful dish! Thanks for joining ON THE MENU MONDAY, dear friend!

    ReplyDelete
  39. These look fabulous! Wonderful to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

    ReplyDelete
  40. I love your 30 minute meal ideas! I'm saving this for a weeknight meal. I did the same with my basil plant and it grew incredibly well!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Wow, could you cram any more color into those pictures? lol

    It looks great, except it is fish. I'll just pretend it is chicken because dayum it looks good.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Pretty presentation! This is a perfect recipe to use up some of the tomatoes from the garden.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Looks delish! And so colorful and healthy too!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Good morning! I have featured this recipe on my blog today for my weekly seafood round-up and have linked this recipe to your original post so that my readers will be forwarded to your site. Thank you for allowing me to share! Here is the link: http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/09/seafood-frenzy-friday-week-36.html

    ReplyDelete
  45. I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it tonight. It was delicious thank you! It will be one of my staples this summer, especially when the cherry tomatoes from our garden are ready!

    ReplyDelete

I enjoy reading each and every comment. If you leave a comment with a question or that requires an answer, please leave an address or way for me to get in touch with you. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam