Texture. This is all about the texture…pure silk on the tongue. The flavor is wonderful, but the texture is positively silky. Divine. I kid you not. Slow-roasting makes for a moist and silky finish. This is dish is a wonderful dish for company. It’s simple and simply elegant. I make it in a pan that can go from the oven to the table. It just takes moments to put it together…see, fast and delicious. And it uses leeks. I love leeks. These are fresh leeks, but Trader Joe’s™ sells them all sliced up and tucked away in their freezer section, just waiting for us. I have no less than three bags in the freezer at all times. They are only available from about November thru March or April, so use them now and use them frequently. A skillet, some olive oil and leek slices. Sauté until the soften and just brown up a bit. Remove them and set aside. Okay. You noticed. There are some mushrooms in there. Well, why not? On my second time around with this recipe, I had some and I tossed in some sliced garlic, too. What can I say? The Goddess does what she does. Place slices of onion and lemon in the same skillet. Then the tilapia filets, fitting them together in an even layer. I over lap the thinner parts (the belly area), sprinkle on the ground coriander, spread the leeks around, followed by a good sprinkle of capers. Now, a good drizzle of olive oil and into the oven. See. I told you it was easy. Life is good. Baste it a couple of times with the pan juices that accumulate; it adds both flavor and preserves moistness.
As you know, tilapia is a relatively bland fish, these flavors are subtle, barely there. Maybe that’s why it works. And boy, does it work!
Slow-Roasted Tilapia with Leeks and Capers
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups sliced leeks, white and pale-green parts only
- 1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground white (or black) pepper
- 1 1/2 lbs tilapia filets (cod, snapper, halibut or corvina work well, too)
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
- 8 sprigs cilantro, cut into 2″ pieces (optional)
Preheat oven to 275°F.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Toss in the leeks, and sauté until the leeks wilt and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Place the lemon and onion in a skillet (I prefer not to use cast iron for this). Place the fish filets on top of the onions and lemon slices; dust with the tilapia with the coriander and a good sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper. Top with the capers and cilantro sprigs, if using. Pour the sautéed leeks on top. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
Place the skillet in the oven; roast until the tilapia is just cooked through and starting to flake, 25-35 minutes. I usually baste it a couple of times with the pan juices that accumulate.
Make ahead: The fish can be roasted 1 hour ahead. Let cool and cover.
Slow-Roasted Tilapia with Leeks and Capers Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.