this tilapia with ginger and white pepper started off as a total, “hmm, i think maybe these flavors would taste good together…? let’s see!” kind of moment. …at around 6:20 on a tuesday night. suffice to say, luckily the result was tasty!
i mean, i was pretty sure the result would be edible.* i just wasn’t sure it would be amazing.
if i’m being honest, lately several of the recipes (that you have NOT seen here!) have been…fine. not terrible (well, except for the one… see * below) but not worthy of sharing here. so while i was pretty sure that tilapia with ginger and white pepper would be fine, i was really hoping it would be excellent.
and it was! yay! the soy sauce/toasted sesame oil is a pretty tried-and-true combination and then the ginger and white pepper add a subtle and delicious boost of flavor. it’s flavor packed without being spicy.
if you have a choice, opt for thinner tilapia filets. sometimes i see tilapia filets in the store and they are more of a tube shape and other times they are thinner and flatter. grab the thinner ones, if you can. the marinade soaks into the thin parts and the ratio of marinated outside parts to plain inside parts is extra delicious. but if all you find is the more tube-shaped kind, that will absolutely work too, fret not.
ok, now that we’ve used the phrase “tube-shaped” to refer to a fish in a recipe that i’m trying to convince you is delicious, it’s probably time to turn you loose so you can run to the kitchen and start making tilapia with ginger and white pepper, no?
(no, but seriously, it’s delicious. also ready in 15 minutes or less, healthy, gluten free, dairy free, so easy to make, and it will make your car look like new! ok, maybe that last part isn’t true, but the rest is!)
*because i was working with tilapia, rather than cod, which i *maaaay* be turned off of forever, based on a recent attempt to branch out and try a new type of fish that fell totally flat (read: i had toast for dinner because i just could. not. make my hates-to-waste-food self eat that cod…). it’s possible that this particular “batch” of cod was just not awesome (is buying frozen chunks of random pieces of cod and then defrosting them and discovering that they smell fishy a red flag? yes? ok, noted.)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos for gluten/soy free)
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz. (227 g.) tilapia filets (defrosted, if you buy frozen like i do)
- in a small bowl, stir together the ginger, white pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil. set the tilapia in a rimmed plate or dish large enough to hold the filets in one layer. pour the marinade over the fish, coating all of the pieces.
- heat the olive oil in a large skillet (see notes re: cast iron) over medium heat. once the oil is hot (shimmering), add the filets, thicker sides in the center of the skillet. let the first side cook for 4 – 5 minutes before you even try to flip it over. after 4 – 5 minutes, slide a thin spatula underneath to check the color; once it’s beginning to turn light golden brown, flip it over. cook the fish on the second side for 3 – 4 minutes before checking the color on the bottom. the goal is light golden color on the top and bottom and for the thickest part of each filet to reach 140° F. once ready, serve immediately.
if you’re worried about lingering fishy odors if you use cast iron, 1) mine didn’t smell at all and 2) if yours does, pop it in the oven at 400° F for 10 minutes. the heat destroys the compounds that smell fishy (trialkylamines and oxidized fatty acids). thanks for the tip, january and february 2017 issue of cook’s illustrated (page 17)!