Mexican Fried Tilapia A La Plancha
Tilapia are a fish which have been popular on dinner tables around the world for a long time now (for millennia in some places including the Levant) but have only relatively recently started making inroads with the public in the US and Canada. However, Mexicans have been enjoying tilapia for some time now and there are a great many delicious ways to prepare this versatile fish in the Mexican culinary repertoire.
Fried, baked, steamed, stewed – or in the case of this particular recipe, sautéed on a hot iron skillet, tilapia is a fish, which turns out wonderfully almost any way you prepare it. The iron skillet method known as a la plancha (literally, on the plate) is a terrific way to quickly cook almost any meats (including of course, fish).
As any fan of cast iron skillet cooking can tell you, an iron plate is a great way to get just the right amount of sear on a piece of fish and in this classic Mexican tilapia recipe, the method definitely doesn’t disappoint. It is a quick and easy way to prepare tilapia or any other fish, which will quickly become a favorite in your household.
Another benefit of cooking ‘a la plancha’ is you need relatively few ingredients. This cooking method is used to bring out the full beauty of the flavor and texture of your meat or fish, and tilapia has a unique taste which is enhanced wonderfully by this cooking method.
A touch of lime juice on the fish is all the flavor you need, and then you are ready to put it on the plancha (skillet, pan or griddle) to sizzle to perfection. A quick sear is better than slow cooking, since that will cook the fish filets beautifully without drying them out. A little salt and pepper is added next and then the fish is ready to be presented, along with your favorite side dishes. Don’t rule this recipe out on the grounds of over-simplicity. Sometimes simple really is best!
- 4 Tilapia filets
- Juice of 4 limes
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Olive or vegetable oil for sautéing, about 1 tbsp
- This is one of the easier and more straightforward recipes.
- You will just need a cast iron skillet or griddle and a little bit of spare time to marinate the tilapia (about 30 minutes, longer if you can).
- Start by marinating the filets in lime juice; as little as half an hour is fine, but 1-3 hours is even better if this is possible.
- Once they are ready, heat olive or vegetable oil on your skillet or griddle and sauté the tilapia filets over medium-high heat, about 4-5 minutes per side.
- This should give you just about the right sear on your fish – remember to turn only once, since the filets may start to fall apart if turned too frequently.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.
Perfectly seared tilapia hot off of the stovetop, cooked in an iron skillet or on the griddle. Served with a portion of rice and beans, some guacamole and pico de gallo, this is a great lunch or dinner. It pairs well with a variety of side dishes; part of the beauty of tilapia is how well this fish goes with nearly anything. Whether you’re serving this elegantly simple tilapia recipe as part of a Mexican-style meal or as part of an entirely different type of dinner or lunch, this method of cooking fish is one which is perfectly suited to this fish for all occasions.
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