February 11, 2012

Mediterranean Tilapia "En Papillote"

Every once in a while, I get stumped when trying to decide what to make for dinner. This usually happens when I'm exhausted from a long day at work, and feel no real motivation to get too many pots dirty. For these days I usually rely on simple seafood dishes as they only take few minutes to cook. I always have several kinds of seafood in my freezer, particularly pre-packaged fillets, such as fish fillets and shrimp.I keep them on hand for nights like these as I put them in a bowl of water to defrost for 15-20 minutes as I get myself settled in and ready to cook.

A "en papillote" or "in paper" is a simple way to cook fish in a tightly sealed package. Most of the times it includes various herbs or vegetables to add flavors to the fish itself. By placing the fish over sauteed onions and topping with lemon, tomato and other fresh herbs, then tightly wrapping the fish in wax paper or foil paper, you get a perfectly steam-cooked fish with a natural sauce from the lemon and natural juices in the fish. This is a perfect, yet simple dish to make; with a fancy name that no one would believe it only has a 10 minute prep time!


4 Tilapia fillets
1 Lemon
1 Tomato
1/2 Onion
1 tbsp capers (optional)
1 tbsp chopped olives (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large baking pan, such as a 9"x13" cover the bottom with foil paper. Make sure there is plenty of extra foil in the overhang as you will eventually wrap up the fish like a package.

Saute 1/2 sliced onion for 3-5 minutes. Until lightly translucent and place at the bottom of the pan. Season your tilapia fillets with salt and pepper and place over the onions. Top with sliced tomato and lemon. Add fresh herbs such as thyme sprigs and basil leaves. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and make sure to season the tomatoes and onions with a little salt and pepper too.

Now all you have to do is tightly close the foil so that no steam comes out from any crevice. Place in oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes, allowing the foil to slightly cool prior to opening. Serve immediately.

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