I remember the first time I had tilapia. I was on the coast of Jaffa, Israel with my Dad in 2005. We had just had an active day of walking around in Tel Aviv and were meeting his friends at an open air seafood restaurant overlooking the sea. I remember thinking that "Gasp! The menu didn't have salmon!" Salmon was the one fish I was really comfortable with until a few years ago. So I ordered tilapia which was served grilled in the whole fish form with a garlicky sauce and parsley. Since then, I have tried many more kinds of fish and I've found preferred ways to cook and eat each of the different kinds. I was thrilled to find this recipe by Candida Sportiello, chef at IL Giardino restaurant on epicurious.com. I changed it up a bit because I'm a fan of turning of the spiciness and increasing the garlic as it is probably my favorite ingredient of all time. I was looking for a main course for an Italian dinner and I thought the freshness of this dish would be perfect with the richness of the Eggplant Rolls. The two dishes complimented each other quite nicely.
Spicy Sauteed Tilapia with Kalamata Olives and Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs tilapia
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dried crush red pepper
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle tilapia with crushed red pepper and saute just until it is opaque in the center, about 4 minutes. You may need to do this in two batches if you have more fish than pan space. Place the fish on a platter.
2. Add parsley and crushed red pepper to the same pan and saute for one minute. Then add the tomatoes, olives and garlic and saute until the tomatoes are juicy, about 2 minutes. Season with pepper and add over the fish.
This would go wonderfully with some rustic Italian bread!