Pan-Fried Tilapia with Braised Leeks and Gremolata

Pan-Fried Tilapia with Braised Leeks and Gremolata

In this zesty and mouth-watering dish created for us by Chef Nathan Lyon, U.S. farmed tilapia is served on a bed of the braised vegetables with a generous sprinkling of gremolata. Crusty bread may be the only accompaniment you'll need!


Nathan Lyon
Recipe by: Nathan Lyon
Cookbook author, chef and Emmy Award-nominated culinary host for television show "Good Food America."

Ingredients

(Serves 2)

Gremolata

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (1 lemon), grated on a Microplane and chopped finely
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled and minced (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Leeks

  • 1/2 pound leeks
  • 1 small bulb fennel, sliced into 8 equal wedges
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine (preferably Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Tilapia Fillets

  • 2 U.S. farmed tilapia fillets, 1 inch thick at the thickest point (about 3/4 pound)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)

Directions

Gremolata

  • In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, garlic, and parsley and mix well.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir, and cover with plastic wrap.

Leeks

  • Cut off the root ends and dark green parts of the leeks, halve them, and clean them carefully in a sink or large bowl full of water; drain the leeks.
  • Season the cut side of the leeks lightly with salt and pepper.
  • In a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the leeks, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter and heat over medium-high heat until the butter just begins to brown.
  • Add the leeks, cut side down, and the fennel and cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, or until nicely caramelized.
  • Using tongs, flip the leeks and fennel; continue to cook until caramelized, 1 minute.
  • Stir in the white wine, stock, thyme, and garlic and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the leeks are beginning to soften and give when pressed, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice, and reduce the liquid until ¼ cup remains, approximately 15 additional minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, discard the thyme sprigs, stir in the parsley, and cover and keep warm.

Tilapia Fillets

  • While the vegetables are braising, pat the fillets dry and season them lightly, on both sides, with salt and pepper.
    Sprinkle the flour onto a plate, then dredge the fillets in the flour, shaking them lightly to remove any excess.
  • When the vegetable braising liquid is reduced to approximately 1 cup, combine the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan until the butter begins to brown.
  • Carefully add the fillets, and let cook until nicely browned, approximately 3 minutes. Using a wide spatula, flip the fillets, and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. The fish should look opaque, and just begin to flake, but still be moist.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir, and cover with plastic wrap.

To finish and serve:

  • Squeeze the lemon juice over the fillets, then serve immediately on a bed of the braised vegetables (with the tasty braising liquid) and a generous sprinkling of gremolata over the top of the entire dish.