Sautéed Tilapia with Cilantro Chimichurri for Two
Why This Recipe Works
We quickly cooked mild-tasting tilapia in a nonstick skillet over high heat to maximize flavorful browning without overcooking and drying out the fillets. We found that this fish is firm and resilient enough to cook over aggressive heat without falling apart. Dividing each fillet into a thick and a thin portion and sautéing them separately allowed for more precise cooking and even browning. Finishing with a cilantro chimichurri sauce added flavor and richness to this lean fish.
IngredientsPrint Shopping List
|2||(5- to 6-ounce) skinless tilapia fillets|
|½||teaspoon kosher salt|
|1||tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil|
From The Shop
You can use fresh or frozen tilapia in this recipe (if frozen, thaw before cooking). There is no need to take the temperature of the thin halves of the fillets; they will be cooked through by the time they are golden brown. Briefly soaking the dried oregano in warm water and vinegar helps soften it and release its flavor.
Total Time: 35 minutes
1. For the fish: Place tilapia on cutting board and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
2. For the chimichurri: While tilapia rests, combine hot water, vinegar, and oregano in medium bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Add parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes and stir to combine. Whisk in 2 tablespoons oil until incorporated; set aside.
3. Pat tilapia dry with paper towels. Using seam that runs down middle of fillet as guide, cut each fillet in half lengthwise to create 1 thick half and 1 thin half.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add thick halves of fillets to skillet. Cook, tilting and gently shaking skillet occasionally to distribute oil, until undersides are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin spatula, flip fillets. Cook until second sides are golden brown and tilapia registers 130 to 135 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer tilapia to serving platter.
5. Return skillet to high heat. When oil is just smoking, add thin halves of fillets and cook until undersides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip and cook until second sides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to serving platter. Top fillets with 2 tablespoons chimichurri and serve, passing remaining chimichurri separately.
Tilapia, Thick and Thin
Tilapia is a small fish, so a fillet comprises one whole side of its body. The belly portion of the fillet is thinner than the top portion, a disparity that leads to uneven cooking. Our solution: Using the seam running down the center of each fillet as a guide, cut the thin and thick portions apart and cook them separately.