A long time ago, while poking around on Allrecipes, I came across one particular review which stuck in my mind. The recipe was for tuna brushed with soy and coated with sesame seeds, lightly seared so that it was cooked on the outside but still raw in the middle; one reviewer gave it five stars and noted: “it was delicious! I made it with chicken tenders!”
Thinking about sesame-coated raw chicken still gives me the shivers.
Anyway, I thought of that review last night when I was making tilapia. I usually make tilapia with lemon and dill, but I had neither. Instead, I had a single tiny lime, and while brainstorming ideas, it occurred to me that Thomas Keller had a truly delectable recipe for creamed corn that involved lime and cayenne pepper. I know, fish and corn are not the same, but it seemed like a decent jumping-off point. Why not try the same flavor combination with fish?
So I did. The fish turned out very good, tangy (lime) and spicy (cayenne) with a lovely creamy background (butter and the tilapia). It’s a very good dish for summer. I gave K a taste when he came home, and he went digging into the leftovers for more. Success!
(As a bonus, this dish is very easy to put together even when a not-so-small infant is rolling around on the kitchen floor, getting underfoot and demanding attention.)
Tilapia with Lime and Cayenne
Unfortunately I didn’t measure my quantities, so your guess is as good as mine.
3 tilapia fillets
one small lime, zested and juiced
Rub three small individual roasting dishes with butter. (Or rub a single big pan with butter.) Sprinkle the fillets lightly with salt on either side, and lay them into the roasting dishes/pan.
Squeeze some lime juice over each fillet and sprinkle with lime zest. I used about half of the juice for three fillets. (I made the rest into limeade.)
Very lightly dust the tops with a little cayenne pepper. Go easy; a little cayenne goes a long way.
Dot the fillets with tiny pats of butter.
Put the roasting pans into the oven, under the broiler. Check occasionally for doneness; when fish is done, it flakes when prodded by a fork. Mine were done with the outer edges were beginning to brown and crisp.
Eat and enjoy! I had my fillet over rice, with buttery drippings poured out of the pan.