17 February 2011

roasted tilapia, citrus-fennel salsa, and coconut rice

I'm so excited today to take part in Michelle's recipe exchange (Hello to all the Pretty Mommy readers)! Michelle challenged everyone to come up with "lighter and brighter" recipes... hello, citrus!! I happen to think February is the perfect time for this. Hearty, thick stews and braised meats are fabulous, but my belly can only take so much. With citrus booming this time of year, it is certainly time to trade in those heavy meals for something a little less rough on the belly, something, as Michelle said perfectly, lighter and brighter.
To be brutally honest, I'm not a huge fan of fish, and it has only appeared in recipe form on here a few times... (maybe only here and here, actually). However, when cooked well and with the right seasonings, I can totally get into it. Cue this recipe. I love the salsa and I love the way it works with this tilapia (or any white fish, really), and I absolutely love the way the tilapia gets those brown, crispy edges when roasted in the oven. Seasoned well, which for me, means seasoned a lot, the fish is totally delicious.

Added bonus, if this recipe happens to sound difficult or like too much fuss, it's not! It's totally easy!! You basically throw a little oil, salt, and pepper on the fish, throw it in the oven, top it with some simple salsa and make rice. done.

Before I go on too long, I have to tell you one more thing. I'm totally, undeniably obsessed with this rice. I kind of want to make it every night. It might be that sweet tooth I have, but it's really not that sweet... it's the coconut, yum! With all that said, here is the super simple and totally savory-sweet-citrusy-delicious recipe. I hope you enjoy!

coconut rice
1 c water
1 c light coconut milk
1 c basmati rice
1/4 tsp salt
sweetened coconut flakes, to garnish

Place water, coconut milk, rice, and salt into a saucepan and stir together. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes then turn off heat and let steam 5-10 minutes, or until ready to serve. Meanwhile, toast coconut flakes in a saute pan over medium heat until golden brown. Remove from heat. When ready to serve, fluff rice with a fork and garnish with coconut flakes.

roasted tilapia with citrus-fennel salsa
note: I only used orange in the recipe, so I'll write it as such, but I think it would be great with other citrus as well... grapefruit, maybe a little lime if you added some agave nectar or honey to balance the sour.
for the salsa:
1 to 2 oranges
1/2 fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks/ thin slices
1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste

for the fish:
4 tilapia fillets
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper, to taste

for the salsa:
Segment the orange by cutting away the peel and pith from the flesh then holding the flesh over a bowl, slice between the membrane and the fruit to release the segments into the bowl. Once all segments have been removed, squeeze what's left in your hand into the bowl below. Add about 1 Tbsp olive oil, or more, depending on the amount of juice in the bottom of your bowl, and stir carefully with a spoon. Add fennel and onion slices, chopped parsley, and season with a little salt. Set aside and stir before serving:

for the fish:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place fish fillets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and liberally season with salt and pepper, on both sides. Place in center of oven and roast about 14 minutes until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve warm over coconut rice and topped with salsa.

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