I like using hot sauce and peppers to make the flavors of my food really “pop,” but this can easily be made mild by leaving the hot sauce out. The most dangerous part of the tilapia recipe is the orange juice & cider glaze. Used just as a marinade, you get the flavor without so much sugar. If you make the glaze, just take it easy.
Also, the Crispy Roasted Potatoes are very crunchy & satisfying. Keep your portions small, and use the leftovers as home fries when you make an omelette for breakfast. They reheat well and retain their crunch.
That’s my cat Misty in the corner. She’s been stalking tilapia all night.
Spicy Citrus Tilapia
8 tilapia filets
2 large oranges (one sliced, 1 zested & squeezed for juice)
1 Vidalia or sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced or julienned
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup peach or apple cider
1/2 cup annatto oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3-4 tbsp hot sauce, to taste
2 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1/4 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp butter (to finish glaze)
In a large plastic bag, combine all spices, juices, and oil. Add bell pepper, orange zest & slices, a handful of onion slices, and tilapia filets. Seal bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Flip/knead bag to coat filets evenly. Set aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes at room temperature, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 375º. Spread remaining onion slices into a single layer in a greased 13x9" baking dish. Add marinated tilapia filets on top. Retrieve orange slices & peppers from marinade bag and evenly distribute over tilapia filets. Ladle in just enough marinade to cover bottom of baking dish, reserving the rest. Cover the dish with aluminum foil & bake in oven for 30-35 minutes.
As the tilapia is baking, pour the remaining marinade into a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally. The marinade should reduce by 1/2 to 2/3. When it reaches the desired consistency for a glaze, add the butter and stir to melt. Remove from heat & set aside.
If you time it right, the tilapia will come out of the oven about 5 minutes after your glaze is done. I laid each filet out on a plate, topped it with some of the onions, red pepper, and 1-2 orange slices. Drizzle a spoonful of the glaze over the filet, and top with garnish of your choice. I keep diced green onions in the fridge for that purpose, but a chiffonade of spinach would work just as well.
Crispy Roasted Potatoes
4 large red potatoes, cubed (can use Russet potatoes with longer cooking time)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1-2 tbsp kosher salt
In a greased 13x9" baking dish, spread potatoes into a single layer. Drizzle with annatto oil and sprinkle salt & spices evenly on top. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375º for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes can easily be penetrated with a fork. Remove foil and put potatoes back into the oven for another 10 minutes to crisp the tops. If they appear dry, you can add more oil to help them crisp better.
But wait, there’s more!
In addition to the above, I also roasted 3-4 large Vidalia onions to be used later. I sliced the onions very thin and divided them between two sheets of aluminum foil. On the first half I drizzled annatto oil and balsamic vinegar, and then I added thyme, cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper. The second half of the onions got only garlic oil and kosher salt. I folded the foil to make a sealed pouch and slid the pouches into the oven alongside the aforementioned potatoes. They can be roasted at 375º for anywhere from 40-60 minutes, depending on how much caramelization & color is desired. By keeping pre-cooked onions on hand, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle on those stressed & rushed evenings when you still want a healthy meal.