Olives, capers give tilapia a flavor boost


Main dish

Roasted Tilapia With Tomatoes, Olives and Fingerling Potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 1/4 pounds small fingerling potatoes, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces

3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups grape tomatoes

1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1/4 cup white wine vinegar, divided

4 tilapia fillets or other firm fish, 5 to 6 ounces each

Sprigs of thyme for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place in the oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and immediately place potatoes on pan. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast potatoes about 15 to 20 minutes or until browned and crisp, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Place the tomatoes, olives, capers and garlic on the same baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 teaspoon thyme. Place in oven and roast until just beginning to soften, 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon thyme, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; brush on the fish. Place the fish on top of the roasted tomato mixture and return to the oven until fish is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Divide among plates and serve with the potatoes. Garnish with sprigs of thyme. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 367 calories (27 percent from fat), 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 29 g carbohydrates, 38 g protein, 535 mg sodium, 85 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber.

Detroit Free Press

Fish becomes a menu mainstay for many Christians during Lent, the six-week season of penance preceding Easter.

Tilapia is one of the most available and versatile choices. It’s a forgiving fish, and its firm flesh takes well to grilling, broiling, baking and sautéing. Portioning is easy too, with one fillet making a decent serving for most appetites.

The downside is that tilapia can be bland, so the savvy cook looks to other ingredients to flavor it. Today’s recipe pairs the fish with fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, olives and capers.

Kalamata olives and capers are great pantry staples. Both salty-briny flavor that goes a long way. Because of their saltiness, you can scale back on much of the salt in the recipe.

Kalamata olives are Greek black olives (many are actually a deep purplish color). Simple uses include setting them out as an appetizer and processing them into a paste with olive oil and other ingredients to make tapenade.

Kalamatas are common fare at supermarket olive bars. Unless you’re going to set them out on an appetizer tray, choose those that are already pitted. It will save time and money because most olives bars charge by the pound whether the olives are pitted or not.

If you wind up with pitted olives, it’s easy to remove them: Press a long chef’s knife along the back of the olive and smash it. The semi-soft flesh will split, revealing the pit.

Capers are the flower bud of a bush indigenous to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. They are green and smaller than a petite pea. Along with a salty taste, they have a hint of herbs. You will find them in small jars near the olives at most grocery stores.

Capers are packed in salty brine, so they should be drained and rinsed before using. Be sure to reserve the brine, pouring it back into the jar, to keep any remaining capers submerged. Once opened, capers should be stored in the refrigerator.

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