Mar 21, 2010

Tilapia with Cilantro-Curry Sauce, Toasted Coconut & Sautéed Carrots

Is it possible for un-fried, tarter sauce-void fish to be devoured faster than a bag of Long John Silver's greasy goodness? Can carrots taste as delectable as buttery French fries? Read on, curious cats.

In appreciation for all the hard work the hubby does to help me around the house, I decided to pamper his taste buds. He absolutely loves fish, coconut, curry and carrots, so when I came across a recipe that combined them all in one quick, healthy, beautiful meal, I knew he'd simply love it. And me? Well, let's just say this dish had me at cilantro.

I started by prepping the carrots, and with each slice, my skepticism grew. See, I'm not a fan of carrots unless they're buried in a cream cheese frosting-covered cake, submerged in ranch dressing or...well, that's pretty much it. And I especially don't drool over the idea of mushy cooked carrots. Nope. These were totally just for the hubby. Or so I thought...

They were ridiculously simple, as was this entire meal. They cooked in the pan with a little olive oil, butter and water for about ten minutes, then I added salt and pepper and let them cook until they were browned and crunchy. And at that point, I was warming up to the whole idea.

The original recipe called for fresh sage to be stirred in, but I left this out because I wasn't sure if it would compliment the cilantro sauce. But the sage version got rave reviews online, so I'll be sure to give that a try sometime soon, as should you.

On to the sauce! It's the best part, after all, bringing together the flavors of cilantro, lemon, garlic, curry powder, olive oil and jalapeño. Now that's a tasty combination if you ask me. I removed the pepper's seeds like the recipe instructed, which is where all the heat lives. But we like it hot, so next time I'll throw in those spicy seeds, too.

Next, I threw the coconut under the broiler and after about ten compulsive oven checks on totally untoasted coconut, I left it alone and started on the fish. Which of course, meant that while I was salting and peppering the tilapia fillets, I forgot about the coconut.

So, I threw the black coconut into the garbage, a new batch into the oven, and the broiler on my hit list right under plastic wrap. The second time around I ended up with this half-white, half-brown, totally-good-enough-for-me toasted coconut.

And after a few minutes on each side, the fish was done, too. I topped each filet with sauce, sprinkled with coconut and served it up with the carrots and basmati rice.

It was delicious. The fish was tender and flaky, and the sauce was bursting with spicy cilantro-curry-lemon flavor that paired perfectly with the sweet toasty coconut. I'm already thinking of all the other wonderful dishes I can create with this sauce. I'm sure it would be equally as yummy on grilled chicken or steak.

And the carrots? Nothing short of amazing. Crunchy and seasoned on the outside, soft on the inside. I gobbled them up quicker than the fish. And when I was clearing the table – totally stuffed and satisfied, have you – I still couldn't resist sneaking more and more of those buttery little morsels. They're sinfully addictive, even to a carrot-hater.

So does this meal beat a greasy platter of Long John Silver's fried crunchies and a carton of McDonald's fries? Yes and yes. This quick, fresh, delicious summery meal is going to stick around our house for years to come.

But more importantly, was it the perfect compliment for the hubby's hard work? Well, he said it climbed the ranks to become his #1 seafood meal. And since fish is his favorite food, I think I can take that as a compliment of my own.

Tilapia with Cilantro-Curry Sauce & Toasted Coconut
Cooking Light, November 2008
Yield: 4 servings

Cookbook Note: You can substitute the tilapia for snapper or flounder. Serve this fish with brown basmati rice and sautéed sliced carrots.

1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
4  (6-ounce) flounder fillets
Cooking spray
2  tablespoons  flaked sweetened coconut
1  cup  cilantro sprigs
2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
1  teaspoon  curry powder
3  garlic cloves, peeled
1  jalapeño pepper, halved and seeded
Lemon wedges (optional)

Preheat broiler.

Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt over fish. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

Place the coconut on a baking sheet; broil for 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cilantro, and next 5 ingredients (through jalapeño) in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Spoon 2 tablespoons cilantro mixture over each fillet; sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 234 (37% from fat), Fat: 9.5g (sat 2g,mono 5.4g,poly 1.3g), Protein: 32.5g, Carbohydrate: 3.3g, Fiber: 0.7g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Iron: 1mg, Sodium: 442mg, Calcium: 41mg.

Sautéed Carrots (with or without Sage)
Cooking Light, November 2009
Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Cookbook Note: You can easily double, triple, or quadruple this small-yield recipe to feed more.

1  teaspoon  butter
1  teaspoon  olive oil
1 1/2  cups  diagonally sliced carrot
2  tablespoons  water
1/8  teaspoon  salt
1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
2  teaspoons  fresh small sage leaves (if making the sage version)

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add carrot and 2 tablespoons water. Partially cover pan and cook 10 minutes or until carrots are almost tender. Add salt and pepper to pan; increase to medium-high heat. Cook 4 minutes or until carrots are tender and lightly browned, stirring frequently. (Sprinkle with sage.)

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 75, Fat: 4.4g (sat 1.5g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.4g), Protein: 0.9g, Carbohydrate: 9g, Fiber: 2.6g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Iron: 0.3mg, Sodium: 224mg, Calcium: 35mg.


Kat said...

looks great!

Alison said...

I have something for you on my blog!!

Kristen @ Change of Pace said...

Thank you so much for sharing these recipes. I don't like fish but I think that topping could work on chicken! I'll have to try it! I don't usually like cooked carrots unless they are boiled in butter and brown sugar haha. I love your blog girl :)

teresa said...

oh yeah, i'll take two plate to go, yummy!

Melissa B. said...

WOW...I'd say this is a keeper!

Eva Gallant said...

What a yummy looking dish! And I scrolled down to the french toast casserole and fell in love!
Just stopped by from SITS to say hi; hope you'll do the same!

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh my goodness. This sounded SO good. Wow. I could totally go for that for supper. I think I will go get some tilapia at the market. Thanks for sharing. Delish!

Heather @ The Single Dish said...

I love cooked carrots!! This recipe looks fantastic, will have to make it very soon.

Scraps said...

Stopping by from SITS!

Your dinner sounds yummy, especially the sauce for the fish (honey's not a big coconut fan, alas). We usually do glazed carrots--sweet instead of savory (butter, brown sugar and some honey, Caro syrup or agave nectar).

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Oh man that looks amazing. My hubby seriously hates curry and cilantro...he has the palate of a 6 month old...but he's going out of town Thursday. Maybe I'll make it then. Yay!!!

Lots of SITS love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

Together We Save said...

This does look yummy .... but I still love the french toast in the previous post more!!

Kathleen said...

This looks like a delicious way to enjoy fish!

Debbie said...

That looks incredible. I love all those flavors.
And I always burn the first coconut batch too:)

Julie said...

Thanks for the recipe. I stink at preparing fish and always love to see different ways to do it.

3 hungry tummies said...

I was given some frozen tilapia, this looks like a perfect dish for me to use them.

Romy said...

Yummilicious! Love your concept and I will be back! Stoppin' by from SITS to say Hi!

Laurie said...

The fish and carrots look fabulous. And I live where tilapia is abundance, and much of its exported to the great Northern neighbor, USA. Anyway I can find to make it taste different, I want to do that. And of course your ingredients are right up the tropical aisle here in Honduras.

Jenny Carden said...

I just made the sauteed carrots for the first time at Thanksgiving simply because I thought the table needed at least one thing which wasn't in casserole form. They were amazing! Amazing enough that I made them again for dinner last night. Yes, twice within a week. I'm a machine!

Nancy said...

I used to ask my mother to make "fried carrots" when I was a kid - because that's what I thought they were (I had some really good carrots at school believe it or not). Anyway, she said "I don't know how to fry carrots, I've never heard of that!" I wish I could send her this recipe for the sauteed carrots today - she passed away many years ago now...I will try these out and think of her when I devour them! They sound fantastic! I love your blog - the pics are great and thanks for posting this recipe.

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