The delicate and light flavor of tilapia makes it one of my favorite fish to cook with, simply because I don’t have to worry too much about what flavors I’m pairing it with.  While some fish require careful planning in order to take into consideration all of the flavor combinations, in my experience, tilapia seems to act as a blank canvas and plays well with just about any combination of spices, breading, or sauces that I can throw at it.  This is why I always have an abundance of tilapia fillets handy, and why I chose it over snapper in this wonderful recipe that I found in Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine.

This recipe is a deliciously filling meal with light flavors that don’t leave you feeling gross and ready for a nap.  While the fish is pan fried, using a combination of olive oil and margarine, you can escape the stigma of the deep vat fryer at your local fried chicken joint and enjoy a light and crispy coating that helps hold all of the flavors together.

My only word of advice for this recipe would be to use caution in choosing your white wine.  My initial reaction to the sauce from this recipe was that it was entirely too tart, and thought that it should only call for half the amount of lemon juice.  I didn’t realize until I tried the wine on it’s own, that I had chosen a very tart and fruity chardonnay that added to the acidic sauce.  For my next round, I will definitely choose a drier white wine and expect a more balanced outcome.

This is certainly a recipe that I will recommend, and it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare if you plan ahead of time.  So go ahead, give it a shot and let me know what your experience is.  If you come up with an improvement or substitution, I would love to hear about it and try it myself!

Until next time. Enjoy!

Piccata-Style Fish Fillets with Thin Pasta and Wilted Spinach

Salt and pepper
1/2 pound thin egg pasta or angel hair pasta
4 thin tilapia or snapper fillets
Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 lemons
1/4 cup drained capers
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 pound fresh spinach, cleaned and trimmed
A little freshly grated nutmeg


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season with salt, pepper and a little Old Bay. On a plate, mix the flour and cornstarch. Coat the fish in the flour mixture.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, one turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and let it foam up, then add the fish fillets and cook, turning once, until golden-brown and firm, 4-6 minutes. Transfer the fillets to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon EVOO, a half turn of the pan, and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to melt. Stir in the garlic for 1 minute, then stir in the wine for another minute. Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel and the juice of 1 lemon. Thinly slice the remaining lemon and stir the slices into the sauce, along with the capers and parsley. Spoon the sliced lemons and half of the butter sauce over the fish.

Add the reserved pasta water and the pasta to the skillet. Add the remaining butter sauce and season with salt and pepper; toss. Transfer the pasta to a platter. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon EVOO, a half turn of the pan, to the skillet. Add the spinach, season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg and cook to wilt. Serve the fish with a little pasta and spinach alongside.

recipe via: Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine