Lemon, Garlic, and Herb Tilapia

I often hear people comment that they need to incorporate more fish in their diets. Some want it more for the fatty acids, which are found in tuna and salmon, while others want it as a low-calorie, low-fat source of protein, which characterizes many types of white fish. It also seems that people are timid to cook fish because they're afraid it will fall apart or not taste good or they just can't fathom cooking it in any other way besides frying. I avoided all those things tonight by making an inexpensive, flavorful fish dish that's ridiculously easy to prepare. For this recipe, I used tilapia because it's inexpensive and readily available in most areas of the U.S. It's a white-fleshed, mild-tasting fish that can carry the flavors of herbs and other aromatics well. Here, I've chosen to cook this fish en papillote, which just means it's cooked it in a paper (actually, aluminum foil because it's so easy, but you could use parchment paper) along with onions, herbs, garlic, and lemon. It's such an easy preparation method! I love cooking white fish this way because when it's finished cooking, the flesh is cloud soft and imbued with the flavors of the aromatics. You can make this fish for one person or many more; it all depends on how many packets of fish you want to cook. Actually, I think this would be the perfect meal for Valentine's Day, which is just around the corner. Just prepare two packets of fish along with some delicious sides and a bottle of white wine (I would suggest sauvignon blanc). Tonight I had this fish with a mashed sweet potato seasoned with cinnamon and spinach wilted down into extra virgin olive oil and garlic.


Lemon, Garlic, and Herb Tilapia

1/4 small onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, cut into matchsticks
1 4-oz tilapia fillet
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper to be more than double the size of the fish fillet. If using foil, place the shiny side down on the work surface.
3. Lay the onion and then the garlic in the middle of one half of the foil. Lay the fillet on top of the vegetables, then place the thyme on top. Drizzle the fish with the lemon and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the remaining half of the foil or paper over the fish and fold the edges. Place the packets on a baking sheet for easy transportation to and from  the oven.
4. Bake the fish for 30 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven. Slit each packet open across the top, being careful to avoid the steam. Serve in the packet or remove from the packet before serving.

Labels: , , , , ,