Vietnamese Tilapia with Turmeric and Dill

Vietnamese Tilapia with   Turmeric and Dill

Vietnamese Tilapia with
Turmeric and Dill

Tilapia is one of the most consumed fish species in the U.S.  It has become one of our favorites, and I cook it frequently.  Turns out tilapia has a lot going for it.   It’s pretty inexpensive, especially if purchased in quantity (like 2 pounds or more), as filets that are individually flash frozen and vacuum sealed.  I like that I can remove just the quantity I need for a specific recipe.

Sustainably farmed versions are easy to find, an important consideration, since so many wild fish species are threatened around the world.  Flavor-wise, tilapia has a very mild, white, flaky flesh that, I think, is a virtue.   It’s a great starter fish for kids or anyone who thinks that all seafood is too “fishy”.  Cooks can take advantage of its neutral flavor by using it as a base for many flavor approaches, ranging anywhere from South American, to Mediterranean to Southeast Asian.


Tilapia is a lean, low-calorie source of protein that’s low in saturated fat, so it’s a good choice for healthy eating.  Although it’s not an omega-3  powerhouse like salmon,  a 3-ounce portion of cooked tilapia still has 10% of your daily omega-3 needs.

This mild white fish holds up well to sautéing, breading, steaming, or whatever you can think to do with it.  It won’t fall apart on you in the pan.   It is one of the easiest, most versatile fish to cook with and it can stand whatever heat your kitchen can dish out!

If you have never cooked with tilapia this recipe will introduce you in a big way;  the fish loves flavor and color.   A killer marinade of shallots, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, garlic and turmeric penetrates the fish and gives it a beautiful golden color. When you sear the fish in a hot-hot pan (cast iron is best) it gets fantastically browned.   This was a new way to prepare it for me and one that I won’t forget.  We loved the Southeast Asian flavors.  Serve it with rice and a green vegetable for an unforgettable meal.

An unforgettable meal.

An unforgettable meal.


Yield:   Serves 4


Southeast Asian seasonings provide big flavor.

Southeast Asian seasonings provide big flavor.

  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  (6-ounce) tilapia fillets,
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • cooking spray
  • 4 cups vertically sliced sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh dill, divided (In the absence of fresh dill, I used dry in small amounts)
  • 4 green onions, cut into (2-inch) pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, dry-toasted peanuts, crushed ( I omitted these.)
  • lemon wedges, for serving


1.  Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk to combine well.  Add fish; toss to coat.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Turmeric gives it a golden color.

Turmeric gives it a golden color.

Marinate fish in the mixture.

Marinate fish in the mixture.

2.  Remove fish from marinade; discard marinade and solids.  Combine fish and peanut oil in a bowl, tossing to coat.

Remove from marinade and coat with oil.

Remove from marinade and coat with peanut oil.

3.  Heat a large heavy skillet over high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion, 1/4 cup dill, and green onions;  stir fry 1 minute.

Stir frying the onions and green onions.

Stir frying the onions, green onions and dill.

Arrange onion mixture on a platter.

Arrange onion mixture on a platter.   Smells wonderful!

Arrange onion mixture on a platter. Smells wonderful!

Return pan to high heat.  Add the fish fillets to pan; cook 3 minutes.  Turn fish over; cook 1 minute or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Place fish on the platter over the onion mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining dill and peanuts.  Serve with lemon wedges.


Arrange fish fillets over onions and serve.


SOURCE:    Cooking Light



Oven-Fried Tilapia with Warm Spinach Salad

Oven Fried Tilapia

Oven Fried Tilapia

Fish of some sort is on the menu at least once a week around here, sometimes more often than that.  During the Lenten period especially, fish and seafood is attractively priced at the supermarket, so that is another reason why we have it more often.  One fish that we particularly like and is very easy to cook is tilapia.  It is mild flavored and can be enhanced by a variety of sauces or cooking methods.

This recipe is called oven fried, although there is no frying involved.  I think the meaning is that it will appear to be fried and have a nice crisp, crusty coating on it.  This is achieved by using panko crumbs and toasting them before dredging the tilapia with the seasoned crumbs.  The fish is tender and flaky inside the crust.

I usually serve this fish with rice or noodles and a salad. This time, however, I served it with my potato-fennel hash and a warm spinach salad that I think goes very well with this dish.  Nutritionally speaking this is a very low fat, potentially low carbohydrate (depending what you serve with it), and low calorie meal.

Potato-fennel hash.

Potato-fennel hash.

Warm Spinach Salad

Warm Spinach Salad


Yield:   4 servings


  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray
  • lemon wedges for serving


1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

2.  Place panko and next four ingredients (through pepper) in a large skillet;  cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently.

3.  Place panko mixture in a shallow dish.   Combine 2 Tbsp. water and egg in a shallow dish.  Place flour in another shallow dish.

4.  Season fish fillets by sprinkling with the salt.  Dredge fish in flour; dip in egg mixture, then place fish in panko mixture, turning to coat.

5.  Arrange in the prepared baking dish.  Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes or until it flakes easily and is done.  Serve with lemon wedges.


  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Place the spinach leaves in a large bowl.

2.  Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and swirl to coat.  Add the minced garlic and grape tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly . Add the cider vinegar, honey, black pepper and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

3.  Pour vinegar mixture over spinach and toss to coat.  Serve while warm.



SOURCE:    Cook Yourself  Thin




Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Onions

Salmon with Roast Tomatoes and Onions

Salmon with Roast Tomatoes and Onions

This recipe is from the archives, published back before I got a good camera, so the pictures didn’t do it justice.  I cooked it again just recently, and appreciated once more what a great recipe it is, so here it is again, updated.   The roast tomatoes and onions produce a tasty sauce that enhances the salmon and keeps it moist.  It all gets baked together in the oven and makes a great weeknight meal.

Salmon is a fish that is highly  recommended for our diet, because of all its heart healthy ingredients and so I try to include it quite often. The problem for me—because I’m someone who likes a lot of variety—is the few ways I know how to prepare it.  And so I’m always on the look-out for new recipes that are easy, without a long list of ingredients, and taste good.  The following recipe is one that meets all those criteria.  Roasting the tomatoes and onions first brings out their sweetness, and creates a flavorful sauce that enhances the salmon.  Serve it with couscous or rice and a green vegetable for a perfect entree.

Salmon with Roasted  Cherry Tomatoes and Onions



  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes

    These are compari tomatoes that I roasted with sliced scallions.

    These are compari tomatoes that I roasted with sliced scallions. and garlic.

  • 1 large onion, cut in wedges
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ( 6 0z.) salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick, or one large salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a jellyroll pan or shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, place tomatoes, onions, and remainder of ingredients thru garlic.  Toss to coat vegetables.
Tomatoes and seasonings ready for roasting.

Tomatoes and seasonings ready for roasting

3.   Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring once during that time.

Lay salmon on top of tomato mixture.

Lay salmon on top of tomato mixture.  

4.  Place salmon on top of tomato mixture, and bake an additional 10 – 12 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.

5.  Serve the tomato mixture over the fish.  Drizzle with lemon juice.

Serve salmon with tomato sauce spooned over the top.

Serve salmon with tomato sauce spooned over the top.

SOURCE:  Cooking Light Magazine

Puttin’ On The Ritz

Puttin' on the Ritz Stuffed Shrimp.

Puttin’ on the Ritz Stuffed Shrimp.

Whenever I hear the song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” I think  of this recipe, so I have given it the name “Puttin’ on the Ritz Baked Stuffed Shrimp” and because I served it with a pilaf of Israeli couscous, that recipe is included here also.   This meal was a really nice combination of flavors and textures.  I hope you will like it.

A large bag of raw shrimp was  being featured at a terrifically good price at the supermarket this week, so I bought some.  Not having any specific plans for using them, I like to keep shrimp in the freezer because they are so versatile, and quick cooking.  But since I’m currently trying to incorporate at least one seafood meal per week, I decided to make baked stuffed shrimp with some of my ‘loot”.  Now I’m sure they are many, many ways to make the stuffing, but over the years I’ve developed a recipe that we both love, and its become my reliable way to pair any kind of fish with a stuffing.IMG_3286

What I do is make the stuffing (see recipe below), spread it in the bottom of a baking dish, and place the fish/seafood on top.  Drizzle a little melted butter over the top and sprinkle with seasonings.  Bake until the fish is tender.  This particular recipe may be called Baked Stuffed Shrimp, but it’s my version;  not the usual offering you would expect in a restaurant—same ingredients, but different look.


SERVINGS:    about 4    To make more adjust ingredients accordingly.


  •  1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 20 – 30  Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion, or green onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Lightly grease a baking dish.

2.  Crush crackers and set aside in a bowl.

3.  Melt 6 Tablespoons butter in a skillet over low heat.  Add the onion, celery, and garlic and sauté lightly till onion is translucent. and celery is beginning to soften.

4.  Pour the vegetable mixture over the cracker crumbs, stirring until the crumbs are completely moistened.   Spoon the crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, and spread in a flat layer.

5.  Arrange shrimp attractively on top of stuffing.  Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoon butter and add the 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice.  Drizzle over the shrimp.  Sprinkle with seafood seasoning.

Make a layer of stuffing on the bottom, and place seafood on top.  Drizzle with butter and sprinkle with seasonings.

Make a layer of stuffing on the bottom, and place seafood on top. Drizzle with butter and sprinkle with seasonings.

Bake till shrimp have turned pink and are tender, about 20 minutes.

In place of shrimp you could substitute tilapia, flounder, or sole fillets.  Also the stuffing can be expanded by adding in some finely  chopped shrimp, crabmeat, or small bay scallops.

While shrimp are baking, prepare the pilaf:


Israeli Couscous, tri-colored.

Israeli Couscous, tri-colored.

SERVINGS:   about 4

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1  1/4 cups boiling water

1.  In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the chopped shallot and red pepper.  Saute over medium heat till vegetables start to soften. Add the couscous and cook to lightly brown the couscous.

Saute onion and pepper, then add couscous.

Saute shallot and pepper, then add couscous.

2.  Carefully add the boiling water.  Turn down heat to low simmer, and cook covered for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook couscous to al dente, or desired degree of doneness.  Remove from heat and leave covered another 3 – 4 minutes before serving.

Israeli couscous pilaf.

Israeli couscous pilaf.

This is a delicious meal.

This is a delicious meal.

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Frigid, but beautiful.

Frigid, but beautiful.

Right about now, the thermometer reads 7 degrees, with a wind-chill factor of –18*!.   We are in a deep freeze and this is day number 6 of it.  Brrrrr!  What’s a body to do to keep warm?  First and foremost, stay indoors.  If that’s not possible dress in multiple layers, covering ears, nose and fingertips.

What I love to do in this kind of weather is Make Soup.  There is something soothing and warming just in making it, and then simmering away, it promises more warmth and comfort later when you eat it.  Since I live in the Northeast, and this area is  well known for its creamy New England style clam chowder,  what I am making today is a variation of it called Fish Chowder (chowda, as we say).

Creamy New England Fish Chowder

Creamy New England Fish Chowder

New England style chowder is a cream or milk based soup that always contains potatoes, onions, and clams or other kinds of seafood.  You can make it rich and thick using cream, or lighten it up with light cream or milk.  I usually make mine with milk to reduce some of the fat, so that I can use bacon and its drippings for additional flavor and to sauté the onions and celery.  You may have heard of another kind of chowder that is popular here.  It is a clear broth soup served mostly in Rhode Island and parts of southeastern Connecticut.  Rhode Island style  chowder contains potatoes, clams, onions, lot of seasonings and a clear broth made from clam juice.  Everyone seems to have their favorite kind and their own way of making it, believing that theirs is the best.

My recipe is one that I have had for a long time and  I think it came from a community cookbook put out by one of the churches in the area.  This version is easy to make and we all love it.  Top each serving with some crisp bacon bits and a shake or two of hot sauce to add a little spice.


Seafood. potatoes, and bacon crisped.

Seafood. potatoes, and bacon crisped.

SERVINGS:  about 8


  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 medium stalks celery
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4  medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 pounds cod or other firm white fish, cut into 1/2″ pieces***
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 ( 8 0z.) bottle clam juice
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cream, light cream or milk

***I use 1 pound cod or other white fish and then add a can of clams with their juice, some bay scallops and small-medium shrimp to make the other pound of fish.


1.  In a skillet, cook the bacon crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Set aside till serving.

2.  In a large soup pot melt the butter and olive oil, add bacon drippings.   Add the chopped onion and celery.  Sauté until tender.

Saute onions and celery.

Saute onions and celery.

3.  Add chicken stock and potatoes; simmer for about 10 minutes.

4.  Add the fish, and simmer another 10 minutes.

5.  Season to taste with the Old Bay, salt and pepper.  Mix together the clam juice and flour till smooth.  Stir into the soup.  Add the cream or  milk and heat but do not boil.  When heated through, serve in bowls, topped with bacon bits.  Shake on a dash of hot sauce if you like a little spiciness.

Sprinkle with bacon  bits to serve.

Sprinkle with bacon bits to serve.

Enjoy a bowl of hearty hot chowder and stay warm, everyone.

Hearty fish chowder.

Hearty fish chowder.

Spicy Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Mango Salsa

One day last week I was confronted with this situation–which happens rather frequently around here.  Mr. D. needed to work late, then go directly to a meeting before coming home for dinner.  Meanwhile, I needed to have my dinner on the early side, then go to a dance class in the evening.  My dilemma?  How to provide each of us with a nutritious meal which could be eaten at two separate times.  Are you familiar with this scenario?   I’d love to hear from you about the kinds of meals you serve when this happens.

My solution on this particular day was to make a tasty salsa that could be served with spice-rubbed tilapia, quickly cooked as needed; and served in a toasted corn tortilla.  I also prepared a tossed green salad to round out the meal, dressing to be added when eaten.

Here’s how it went together:


  • 1 cup diced peeled avocado
  • 2/3 cup diced peeled ripe mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together all the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl, and set aside for flavors to meld.  This is a delicious salsa that I make often in warm weather.  I love salsas made from fresh ingredients, don’t you?


  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced fine
  • 1 pound fish fillets  (we are partial to tilapia)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 Corn tortillas  (6-inch)
Combine the first 5 ingredients ( thru garlic ).  Rub well over both sides of fish fillets.  These can be prepared in advance up to this point.  Refrigerate, and have ready for cooking as needed.
Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetable oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add fish;  cook 2-3 minutes per side, depending on thickness of fillets.  Remove to a platter and keep warm.
Warm corn tortillas in hot skillet, about a minute per side to warm and soften.