Coming up with a recipe name is always a tough job. I don’t really like very long names but would try to form the names with as many main ingredients or sauces as possible so that you could have a better idea of what the dish is like or at least it’s easier for you to imagine. Most of the time, however, I find it’s nearly impossible to have such names. The best way, by far, is by using pictures.
For today’s recipe, we are going to serve Tilapia fillet over tomato sauce and fresh dill weed. Pretty straight forward from the name, right? You got the idea! Nevertheless, you can certainly tell that there’s more in the tomato sauce from the pictures. That’s my take on marinara sauce, which didn’t occur to me until a friend mentioned it when I was testing mom’s traditional tomato sauce with sugar the other day.
I went ahead to add garlic, carrot, celery and onion into the tomato sauce. Instead of simmering it with herbs inside for a long time as marinara sauce requires, the herbs are pulled out to be sprinkled on top. There’s no tomato chunks but crunchy little pieces of carrot and celery with the same tomato flavor coupled with the fragrance of garlic and onion, which goes really well with Tilapia’s tender texture. Here we have a delicious and quick to make “marinara-ish” sauce for our fish. 😀 Thanks to Farah, the girl behind Cooking Jar and Happy Accidents, for triggering this idea out of my head.
This turned out to be absolutely delicious! Looking at this dish, either directly or through my camera lens without taking a bite required some serious self-control. I finally couldn’t wait any longer…
…and finished! 😛 So good!
In order to successfully cook this dish, there are a few things to note –
First, make each Tilapia fillet hold in one piece. Breaking it or cutting it into smaller pieces isn’t going to affect the flavor at all but if you want a nice presentation, like I always do, here is a trick to prevent the fish from breaking apart when cooking.
Wrap the fish with a thin layer of corn starch. Make sure the edge of the fillet is covered as well. You will find how to do it in the recipe instructions.
Second, don’t forget to remove the strings from your celery stalks to make it easy to eat before chopping them up. You can simply do that with a vegetable peeler. I usually just break the stalk with my hands and pull off the strings from both directions.
Third, have more loved ones to serve? Feel free to use up a can of tomato sauce and adjust the flavor accordingly for one or two more fish fillets (depending on the size). If this recipe yields a perfect amount for you, here’s a yummy shrimp recipe that you can cook with your remaining tomato sauce.
Last, what a big bunch of fresh dill! Are we going to finish all of it by cooking this dish? Of course not! Don’t worry. We know how to effectively store fresh herbs now! 🙂
Alrighty! Ready? Let’s cook!
Tilapia Fillet With Tomato Sauce And Dill Weed
- Category: Main Course
- 2 Tilapia fillets (about 5 oz each)
- 1/4 cup fresh dill weed (divided)
- 4 teaspoons corn starch (divided)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
For the “marinara-ish” sauce:
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup baby carrots, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, de-stringed and finely chopped
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- Chop the veggies. (I use veggie chopper to save time.)
- In a large plate, spread out 1 tsp corn starch and gently place one Tilapia fillet on it. Move the fillet around against the plate to make the corn starch evenly cover one side of the fillet. Move the fillet aside and spread out another tsp corn starch on the plate. Flip the fillet and move it around until the other side is covered as well. Use your fingers to polish both sides. Do the same with the other Tilapia fillet.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat up 1 tbsp vegetable oil over high heat. Use both of your hands to hold one Tilapia fillet and slowly place it in the skillet. Let it cook for 1 minute. Flip it around to cook for another minute or until the fish is cooked through. Transfer it to a serving plate and set aside. Repeat this step to cook the other fillet.
- While the fish is cooling down, reduce the heat to medium high. Add 1 tsp olive oil in the same skillet. (You can use the remaining oil but likely it’s not enough.) Put the pressed garlic in and quickly stir a couple times. Next, add the chopped veggies and stir all together a few times or until the onion is translucent. This step took me less than a minute because I would like to leave the veggies crunchy. If you prefer tender, go ahead and cook for a bit long.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in tomato sauce, sea salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Your skillet is hot enough to warm up the tomato sauce and melt the sugar. Add more sea salt or pepper if desired.
- By now, the fish should cool down a bit but still warm. Divide the sauce by two. Use a big spoon to place the sauce on each fillet. Sprinkle fresh dill weed on top of the sauce. Serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 2 or 4 as a side dish