Mediterranean Style Tilapia

For many years Moroccan Salmon was a Friday night Shabbat staple. I rarely strayed from this tradition because I always loved it, its flavors and smell trigger all the right feelings. I really need to share my recipe for it with you soon, it’s such a perfect food with its rich sauce and spicy undertones.

But sometimes, you need to liven things up. This Mediterranean-style Tilapia is an excellent choice, it comes together easily and bursts with flavor from the sundried tomatoes and capers. I made it for Shabbat dinner and it was the perfect first course everyone loved. I have Kim Kushner to thank and her cookbook The Modern Menu.

 I’ve had this gem of a cookbook for several months and I can always find something to put on my menu plan. The recipes are down-to-earth and practical, yet gourmet and novel. I love the flavor profile of every dish and how Kim draws inspiration from her Moroccan background, which speaks to me since I share many of those traditions. She’s taken classic dishes and modernized them in just the right way, like the Crispy Miso-Marinated Schnitzel, the  Salmon en Croute, and the Crunchy Curry Cauliflower with Tahini and Pomegranate.

The photography is modern and artistic, very different from the typical food photography that graces most contemporary cookbooks and a welcomed feast to the eyes.

Best of all, The Modern Menu holds true to its motto of “Simple. Beautiful. Kosher.” a poignant description of my own cooking style and one I seek to live by. If you don’t have it already, I’d definitely look into this book.

On another note, this tilapia would make a perfect meal for Tisha Beav (the Nine Days). You can serve it alongside these roasted carrots, like I did. Or even consider this or that.

I can’t write a blogpost without mentioning the heart-breaking situation in Israel. In light of that, we should pray and perform acts of kindness in any way, shape or form that we can. I’m disturbed and appalled by the amount of hate that’s flowing around, and though sometimes I feel hopeless with humanity, I do believe that positivity lights the darkness and that we should infuse our every day with more of that.

Mediterranean Style Tilapia*

From The Modern Menu by Kim Kushner (p.74)

3 tablespoons capers, drained

8 oil-packed sundried tomato slices, plus 3 tablespoons of the oil

4 scallions, white parts only

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 tilapia fillets (in the book she uses sea bass fillets)

Combine the capers, sundried tomatoes and their oil, scallions, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until a paste forms, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the fillets in a single layer in a baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, rub the paste all over the tops of the fillets. The fish can be covered and refrigerated at this point for a few hours.

Preheat oven to 400F. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 12 minutes, until the fish flakes apart when pricked with a fork.

*In the cookbook, Kim uses Sea Bass, however I prefer the texture of tilapia so that's what I used. Therefore, in the book this recipe is naturally called Mediterranean-style Sea Bass.