Thursday, May 30, 2013

Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

As the weather heats up and the summer months begin to approach, we find ourselves outside grilling more... just like most of you do.  These Tilapia filets are brushed with a bright and flavorful Lemon Basil Vinaigrette and treated to a dusting with bold citrus spices before hitting the grill for a light and healthy meal.  This vinaigrette would be suitable for the fish of your choice, or even grilled chicken.

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Ingredients:  (for about 8 filets of Tilapia)

Vinaigrette -
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (~ 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 2 tsp capers, drained
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic (~ 1 rounded tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced basil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
Fish - 
  • 8 filets of Tilapia
  • Citrus seasoning blend of your choice 
    • we used two different kinds to try them out (separately, not mixed)
Garnish (optional)
  • Roasted grape tomatoes
    • 1 cup  grape tomatoes, EVOO, kosher salt and black pepper, dried basil
  • Fresh lemon slices
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, minced

Step-by-Step:
Roasted Tomatoes -
Start these first, as this takes the longest.  Slice the grape tomatoes in half.  With the cut side up, drizzle them with a little EVOO.
EVOO
Sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, and dried basil.  I never measure.  Just sprinkle a bit. 
kosher salt

black pepper
dried basil
Roast them in a shallow baking pan at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes.  They will start dehydrating a bit as they roast.  Cover to keep warm and set aside when they are done.  When you get them in the oven, start on the vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette -
Please note that if you have a little one helping you, YOU will probably want to handle the microplane zester to zest your lemon yourself.  For those of you who have never "zested" before, be careful to ONLY get the colored portion of the fruit.  Do NOT get any of the white pith underneath - as it is bitter.  The zest contains all the fragrant and oils of the peeling.
1 tsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons)






This is the heart of the recipe, so here we go.  First zest, then squeeze your lemons as prep before you begin.  Mix together the EVOO, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.   Set aside about 1/3 of this vinaigrette to use on the cooked fish.  We will use the bulk of it to season the raw filets.
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (~ 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced basil
  • 2 tsp capers, drained
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic (~ 1 rounded tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
So now, the lovely Lily will demonstrate the making of a vinaigrette!  After zesting, there are lemons to squeeze, and oil to be measured out.  Then just mix it all together.




Whisk together and adjust seasonings as you desire.
Fish - 
If using frozen filets, thaw first.  Spray aluminum foil with a bit of cooking spray so the fish won't stick.  You will be setting the fish on them.  Brush the fish with the vinaigrette designated for the raw filets.  Season the fish filets generously with seasoning blend of your choice.
Brush the fish with the vinaigrette designated for the raw filets.
Feiny's Citrus BBQ Rub or Seasoning blend of your choice
Season the fish filets generously with seasoning blend of your choice.  (we also tried Lime Mojito rub by McCormick)

Set the fish on the foil "trays."

Grill the fish on the foil "trays" at about 325-350 F for around 10-12 minutes.  It's hard to say exactly since each batch of fish you get will be different thicknesses.  The fish will start to flake easily with a fork when they are cooked.  At the end, brush the fish with the reserved vinaigrette prior to serving.  Garnish with the roasted tomatoes, a slice of lemon, and some fresh basil ribbons. 
Did you enjoy this recipe?  Please hop over to my Recipe Index, where you will find tons more ideas of things to cook with/for your family, including a page of Kid Friendly recipes, and one designated for those of you In a Hurry!  But whatever you cook, please let the kiddos help.  It's great teaching and quality time together.  It introduces them to a lot of new things, and they are probably more likely to try things that they have helped to prepare.

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Written Method:
Roasted Tomatoes -

Start these first, as this takes the longest.  Slice the grape tomatoes in half.  With the cut side up, drizzle them with a little EVOO.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, and dried basil.  I never measure.  Just sprinkle a bit.  Roast them in a shallow baking pan at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes.  They will start dehydrating a bit as they roast.  Cover to keep warm and set aside when they are done.  When you get them in the oven, start on the vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette - 
Mix together the EVOO, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.   Set aside about 1/3 of this vinaigrette to use on the cooked fish.  Use the bulk of it to season the raw filets.

Fish - 
If using frozen filets, thaw first.  Spray aluminum foil with a bit of cooking spray, and set the fish on them.  Brush the fish with the vinaigrette designated for the raw filets.  Season the fish filets generously with seasoning blend of your choice.  Grill the fish on the foil "trays" at about 325-350 F for around 10-12 minutes.  It's hard to say exactly since each batch of fish you get will be different thicknesses.  The fish will start to flake easily with a fork when they are cooked.  At the end, brush the fish with the reserved vinaigrette prior to serving.  Garnish with the roasted tomatoes, a slice of lemon, and some fresh basil ribbons.

Behind the scenes....
With our fish, we had grilled sweet corn, and Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan.   In case you are wondering, yes, I do let my kids use knives.  Big ones.  Sharp ones.  It's the way my mom always taught us.  The sharp knives require much less pressure and are less dangerous than dull ones.  They learn knife skills under my supervision.  That way, the "almighty knife" is much less of a mystery to them that they will be tempted to "play" with when my back is turned.

Notice how fancy it is when we cook together? LOL...  We have grape Kool-Aid in a Hello Kitty water bottle.  And of course I usually have a pad of paper and pen on hand for any recipe notes that I take. Because as you can see, my attention is divided somewhat!  Canon's job was to quarter the sprouts after I halved them (because the whole ones can be tricky when they are trying to roll away).  Lily's job was to arrange them, cut side up, so we could drizzle a sauce EVOO/balsamic dressing over them.

It may seem to you that it takes longer to cook when the little ones are helping.  It may.  But there are way more benefits to this than drawbacks.  The alternative is.... I could go and park them in front of the TV or computer.  They get plenty of that, though!  This is our time to share our day, and just spend time cooking up memories together.  When they grow up, THIS is what I want them to remember... not what toys they had, or what video games they played.  I want them to remember cooking together.  And I want them to teach their kids the same.

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6 comments:

  1. Another great sounding recipe! You kids are adorable, and love the outfit your daughter has on... Love the comments about cooking with your kids...this has motivated me to let my 5 year old use a knife! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Beth! Once you start, they will quickly become addicted to helping you in the kitchen. My daughter gets downright offended if she's not "allowed" to help. You won't regret it! :)

      Delete
  2. Just wondering how long you recommend marinating the fish for or do you just prepare it as above and throw it on the grill right away? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacquie - we just threw them on the grill as they were! Quick and easy.

      Delete
  3. Would this be good to try with Salmon? Would love to try tonight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oooh! I bet it WOULD!!! :)
      Go for it!

      Delete

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