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Tilapia With Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, and Lemon Wine Sauce

My husband is a wonderful cook. We share the kitchen and we each have our specialties. He often does the cooking for our dinner parties.

Completed dish of tilapia served over a bed of sauteed spinach

Completed dish of tilapia served over a bed of sauteed spinach

Elegant and Delicious

This recipe is a recent creation of mine that turned out to be a real five-star winner! My husband and I loved it and will certainly make it again and again.

We purchase tilapia fillets from Costco, and we find that they are always large and delicious. Tilapia is a mild-flavored white fish. Methods of preparation can vary, as well as flavoring ingredients to accompany the fish.

In upscale restaurants, presentation is just as important as the taste of the completed dish. I have seen fish and other proteins draped over mashed potatoes or other vegetables. We happened to have some fresh spinach in the house, and I decided to use that as not only a vegetable accompaniment but as a base for the cooked tilapia. It turned out to be pretty and delicious.

I made the spinach preparation earlier and microwaved it to warm it up before serving it. You could easily make it at the same time as you cook the fish portion of this dish.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

30 min

40 min

2 servings

Ingredients

For the spinach mixture:

  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound organic baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the tilapia preparation:

  • 2 large fresh fillets tilapia, cut in half with bloodline removed
  • 8 large grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 12 kalamata olives, halved and seeded
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 cup flour, or enough to lightly coat the fish
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Saute the sliced onions in 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat until softened and starting to show signs of browning.
  2. Add the baby spinach leaves to the pan.
  3. Stir until the spinach has wilted and blends with the onions. It does not take long.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. You can cool and refrigerate it now to be warmed later, or keep it warm as you prepare the fish.
  5. Cut the tilapia fillet in half and remove the bloodline, if desired. My husband always does that because that part of the fish can retain a more robust so-called "fishy" flavor.
  6. Add some salt and pepper to the flour and lightly coat the fish in the flour mixture, patting off any excess flour.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to a pan and heat over medium-high heat until melted and bubbling.
  8. Add the thicker part of the tilapia fillets to the pan first for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the thinner sections.
  9. Saute until golden brown on one side and then flip to make both sides golden brown and fork-tender.
  10. Remove the fish to a plate, and cover with foil to keep warm.
  11. Add the halved tomatoes, kalamata olives, wine, and lemon juice to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid in the pan is reduced by half.
  12. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan, stirring until melted and incorporated into the sauce.
  13. To serve, mound the spinach and onion mixture in the center of two warmed dinner plates. Drape the fish fillets over the spinach, and spoon the sauce with the tomatoes and olives over the fish.

Photo Guide

Sliced onions in a pan with olive oil

Sliced onions in a pan with olive oil

Cook the onions until they are soft and start to brown.

Cook the onions until they are soft and start to brown.

Add the fresh spinach leaves to the pan with the onions.

Add the fresh spinach leaves to the pan with the onions.

Stir until the spinach has wilted and there is no liquid left in the pan.

Stir until the spinach has wilted and there is no liquid left in the pan.

Whole tilapia fillet

Whole tilapia fillet

Bloodline removed from the fish fillet

Bloodline removed from the fish fillet

Coat the fish in seasoned flour.

Coat the fish in seasoned flour.

The larger half of the fish fillets are in the pan for a few minutes before the thinner parts are added.

The larger half of the fish fillets are in the pan for a few minutes before the thinner parts are added.

Saute and brown the tilapia on one side

Saute and brown the tilapia on one side

Brown the second side in the pan.

Brown the second side in the pan.

Transfer the cooked fish to a plate.

Transfer the cooked fish to a plate.

Add the tomatoes and olives to the pan followed by the wine, lemon juice, and final pat of butter. Cook until the liquid reduces by half.

Add the tomatoes and olives to the pan followed by the wine, lemon juice, and final pat of butter. Cook until the liquid reduces by half.

Below, and at the top of the page, are photos of the final product. I wish you could taste the succulent flavor combinations of this dish. The flakey fish with bites of spinach, tomato, and olives dressed in the rich lemon butter wine sauce was delicious! I would heartily recommend this dish to any fish lover! A dry white wine is a perfect accompaniment.

© 2020 Peggy Woods