Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baked Tilapia with Orzo, Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes

Adapted from Bon Appetit, 2005
The recipe called for Halibut, but since Fresh Market was out, I opted for Tilapia (one of my favorites because it is so easy). You could also make this dish with sea bass and it would taste just as yummy! This recipe was so easy, it only took about 30-45 minutes to make.

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 6- to 7-ounce tilapia fillets

1 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups (packed) baby spinach
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

Optional ingredients (added by me):
low-sodium chicken broth
crushed red pepper
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
Bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice in bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Place tilapia on rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with some of dressing. Bake until just opaque in center, about 12 minutes. If you prefer your fish to be breaded, simply cover the top of the fish with breadcrumbs for the last 3-5 minutes that the fish is in the oven (see fish on the right in the photograph). I breaded one and not the other so you could see the difference.

Meanwhile, cook orzo with 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth until absorbed.*** Once absorbed add the tomatoes (I didn't halve the tomatoes because my boyfriend doesn't like them so I left them whole to easily leave them off of his plate. They were good whole but if you like tomatoes then I would halve them, as the orzo will be able to absorb the flavor of the tomatoes better that way). Add in a dash of basil and a dash of crushed red pepper to add a little pizzazz.
***If you do not have the chicken broth, simply cook orzo in boiling water like you would pasta, until fully cooked according to packaging, then drain, and cook the rest of the recipe the same way.
Add 2 tablespoons oil and garlic to a saucepan; sauté over medium heat 1 minute. Add garlic mixture to orzo and tomatoes; stir to coat. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted. Add in spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat. Cover; let stand 1 minute (spinach will wilt). Divide pasta between 2 plates. Top with tilapia and remaining dressing.

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