Tilapia in Spicy Lime Sauce

I guess I've got a thing going for lime these days. Hmmmm.

More dominant though, is my frustration as to what to do with tilapia. Margie likes fish a lot, and so do the kids. The ubiquitous tilapia seems to frequently be on sale. Yet I approach it with disdain, as I don't have any favorite recipes for it. Of course any fish cooked in butter with salt and pepper is a pretty good experience.

This recipe looks a little involved, but really is just a series of steps pouring ingredients into bowls, then blending.

Update: After making this - my review of the dish: it's "just OK". Hardly worth the complications that I prescribed. Here's the promised picture. The pasta with rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, peanut oil, topped with scallion and cilantro - was better than the fish. 

Five Spice Paste
1/3 cup thinly sliced lemongrass
4 medium garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Zest and juice of 1 large lime
2 tablespoons ginger (or galangal, if avaialble)
-- Roughly chop garlic and ginger. Puree in a blender until well combined.

Lime Sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2/3 cup water
6 medium garlic cloves
2 small red chilies (or 1 tablespoon jalapeno or serranno pepper, chopped)
-- Blend water, garlic and chilies to form a loose paste. Add remaining ingredients.

Tilapia in Spicy Lime Sauce
1.5 to 2 pound tilapia or other thin white fish fillets
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup five spice paste
Cilantro and julienned cucumbers for garnish
  1. Combine oyster, soy and fish sauces, sugar and paste. 
  2. Add this marinade to the fish, covering all over. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. 
  3. Prior to cooking, gently wipe marinade away from fillets. 
  4. Heat a tablespoon or more of olive oil in a large fry pan, cook fillets about 1.5 to 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. 
  5.  Add another tablespoon of oil, along with remaining spice paste and the lime sauce. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Lower heat to simmer and gently place fish atop sauce. Spoon sauce over fish fillets for about 1 minute.  
Serve fish over steamed rice or thin pasta tossed with oil and rice wine vinegar. Top with sauce.
Accompany fish with cilantro and cucumber strips.


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