Tilapia in Tomato Saffron Sauce
Adapted from Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small sweet red pepper, seeded and cut in strips (I found some incredibly sweet peppers called Ancient Sweets. They are longer than most red bell peppers and taste better than candy – greenhouse grown somewhere in Canada)
4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup tomato sauce, I used my own slow roasted tomatoes – awesome choice if I do say so myself
¼ tsp saffron threads
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp smoked paprika (Spanish pimento de la Vera)
½ - 1 tsp dried oregano
4 tilapia fillets
Salt & coarsely ground black pepper to taste
½ cup cilantro or flat leaf parsley, chopped
1. Heat olive oil in a large deep sauté pan. Add the onion and red pepper and cook over medium low for about 7 minutes or until almost tender. Remove mixture from the pan and set aside.
2. Heat another tbsp of olive oil in the same pan, still at medium low heat. Add half the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until you get the aroma. Add the tomato sauce, saffron, turmeric, paprika & and oregano. Bring to a simmer and place the tilapia fillets on top of the sauce in a single layer & season with salt & pepper (if your pan isn’t big enough to hold the fillets in a single layer, do as many as will fit, cook for 3 minutes per side and remove cooked fish and add the rest to the pan.
3. Once all the fish is cooked, remove fish and keep warm.
4. To the same pan add the remaining garlic to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Return the onion mixture to the pan and cook for a minute or two until heated through. Remove from heat and add cilantro or parsley. Taste for seasoning. Add cayenne pepper if you like a little heat.
5. Return tilapia to the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.
Ruth’s Note: since I’m planning this as a second course for our Rosh Hashanah dinner for 12, I’ll be trying it in a moderate oven instead of on top of the stove - 350°F/175°C