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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mediterranean Tilapia with Olive and Almond Tapenade

I like olives, but I am the only one in my family who does.  So now and then, it is fine to make a treat for just the cook. With three bottles of green olives left open in the fridge from holiday relish trays, I decided to experiment a little. I looked at lots of recipes for tapenade, but I didn't have capers (never do) or anchovies. I found two that used almonds.  Hey, I do have those! I know this does not make a real tapenade, but it just sounds more delicious than topping or spread. You can check my inspiration recipes here and here. I added different spices and added some new ingredients.

I am featuring spices and flavorings in this month's Diner News, and this creation will be part of the newsletter. I can tell you that if you like green olives, this dish is wonderful on fish. Tilapia is so mild, that the flavors really come through. I used a Mediterranean Seasoning Blend from Archer Farms at Target. This is interestingly spicy. If you want to duplicate my recipe without buying the jar, it is a blend of these flavors: chili flakes, garlic granules, lemon peel, dill weed, dill seed, oregano, cinnamon, mace, spearmint and chervil. Whew. Easier to buy this one! I threw a handful of grape tomatoes into the skillet with the fish. I adore grilled tomatoes. They taste so sweet.

Mediterranean Tilapia

4 Tilapia fillets
2 tsp Mediterranean Seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Thaw fish if frozen. Sprinkle seasoning and salt on on side of the fillet. Using your fingers, press the spices into the fish. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place the fillets in seasoning side down. Cook for 4 minutes, then lift with a spatula and turn to cook the other side of the fish. Let this side cook for 4 minutes or until it flakes with a fork at the thickest part. Remove and spoon olive topping over the fillet.

Olive and Almond Tapenade

1/3 cup roasted almonds (whole) OR 1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup olives
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Mediterranean Seasoning
1/4 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes

Place almonds in a food processor and grind to a coarse meal. Add in olives, lemon juice, seasoning, garlic and oil. Process until no large chunks remain, but before it forms a paste. Stir in tomato pieces and set aside for flavors to blend. Use this to top fish or as a spread or dip with vegetables.

I used my bullet blender. Don't try this. Go ahead and take it from me. They don't work well for this application. Go for the bigger model. That being said, I would have had this posted much earlier today, but our power was out for hours. I hate that I lost some of the newsletter I had been working on. One of these days I will buy a new battery for my laptop. The good news, is I was able to catch up on some reading.  No cooking, no computer. Sometimes that is a good thing. At least it was back on in time for my Downton Abbey fix.

I am on my last week of the Whole 30 challenge.  I am doing really well without cheese. This spread really helps there since it is so flavorful. I really do miss sweetened drinks though. I am tired of lime water all the time. My stevia bottle is calling me from the kitchen counter. I do feel good though. I even managed to stay on plan at the Italian restaurant where we plan to hold my son's rehearsal dinner. Hurray for small victories!


Jennifer [To PIN/share a Post, Click the 3 dots or the Red SAVE Button] said...

Good for you, Lisa. :) I love fish. Whenever we go out to a restaurant, guess what I order?

Unknown said...

This recipe sounds fabulous. I would like to make it for dinner tonight. I have a few jars of stuffed olives with almonds. Do you think I could use that instead of separating the olives from the almonds? I don't have plain almonds on hand. If not, I will be sure to add the ingredients for next week's grocery list because I have to give this a try.

Lisa Marshall said...

Joan, I don't think the texture would be the same. The almonds dry it out quite a bit and take away some of the tartness. If you really love olives, I think you would still like it though.