Growing up in Taiwan, I remember eating a lot of fish as a kid. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the whereabouts of this country: Taiwan’s an island, located approximately 110 miles off the southeastern coast of China.
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty details about Taiwan… if you want to learn more about it, I’m sure Google and Wikipedia would be more than happy to provide you with some insight…
My whole point about mentioning Taiwan is because since we are an island country, I grew up eating fish probably 2-3 times a week. Not only did people eat lots of seafood, they made it amazing without having to throw it in the deep fryer. I know a lot of people who aren’t fans of seafood – it seems like deep frying fish is how a lot of restaurants try to get Americans to eat fish that were supposed to be good for you.
My mom’s signature dish growing up was probably salmon with bean sprouts. I remember having “salmon with bean sprouts” for lunch for days in a row when I was in middle school that my friend asked me one day, “you’re having that again?!” Looking back, she sure knew how to get healthy omega-3 fatty acids into her child :)
Now I’m living in the Midwest (read: not surrounded by the ocean), I miss being able to eat fresh seafood whenever I please. Yeah, we have the local walleye that’s famous, but when it comes to fresh fish, scallops, shrimp, lobsters, crabs, clams, I’m pretty much out of luck. Oh, I’m sure the high-end fancy grocery stores have them, but nothing really beats fresh-caught seafood…. just another reason why I’m ready to move to the coast.
Since I have to work with what I have, I’ve trying to make fish I buy packaged in individual vacuumed packs (found in the freezer section) taste good. It’s nothing like what I’m used to having, but it’ll do until I have the resources to make fresh seafood.
Before we started buying salmon, cod, and other ocean fish a few months back, we bought a lot of tilapia. Nothing against tilapia – I’m just used to eating ocean fish instead. I found a big bag of unopened tilapia fillets in the freezer last night, so I figured I should use it up before it goes bad.
This is probably not the healthiest seafood dish I’ve ever made, but I wanted to try something different, something that I’ve never made before. The lemony buttery sauce was a perfect complement to the fish. Next time, however, I would be a little bit more careful in drizzling the sauce over the tilapia. I added a little too much and it pooled onto the couscous beneath it and gave it a very sour taste – not good. Maybe I’ll drizzle the sauce over the fish before I serve it next time.
- 2-3 tilapia fillets (about 12-16 oz total)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- Chop the parsley and juice the lemon. Set aside.
- About 5 minutes before cooking, place tilapia fillets onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
- Dust the fillets with a thin coat of flour, shaking off the excess.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter starts to bubble, add the fish and cook for 3-4 minutes. Don't be too eager and flip the fish too early - the fish will end up sticking to the pan. Just let it cook and it will be easy to flip when it's ready.
- Flip the fillets and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side or until flaky. Remove to a large plate and keep warm.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into the skillet. Once the butter has melted, stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Spoon sauce over fish.
- As lemon pairs well with fish, it doesn't pair well with the rest of your dinner - drizzle the sauce over the tilapia fillets before serving it onto your dinner plate. That way there won't be any excess lemony sauce that ends up overpowering everything else you have on the plate.