Cooking Gluten-Free with Anna

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A fish with history

Dinner was a snatch last night ~ Tilapia with Citrus Bagna Cauda~ thanks to a great recipe by Giada De Laurentiis. I have several of her cookbooks and enjoy her cooking shows. The recipes are always solid; easy to follow and the results are delicious. I found this dish on the Food Networks website.

Yesterday, when I went to the grocery store to get the usual stuff; milk, butter, eggs, I passed the fish counter. I knew I wanted to make Gravlax for the holidays, so I stopped to get some fresh salmon. But should I get farm-raised or wild? Wild, which by the way, I know I 'should' get for various reasons, but hardly ever do. I like the extra fat in the farm raised fish, and truthfully, I love it. It's much more flavorful and it makes an amazing tasting Gravlax. The salmon is cured Swedish style with tons of dill, white pepper, sugar and kosher salt, and served with a dill-mustard sauce. It's a staple on any self-respecting Swede's Smörgåsbord. And so delicious on some crispbread. But since the fish is cured while raw it must be placed in the freezer, either before or after curing, for at least 2 days. The freezing process kills any existing parasites. The fishmonger wrapped up the salmon and asked if I wanted anything else? I looked around to see what else looked good.

Tilapia ~ goes by many names; "St. Peter's fish," from the story in the Gospel of Matthew, where the apostle Peter catches a fish that carries a coin in its mouth, and also "Zeus faber." According to Wikipedia, these species are found in the Sea of Galilee and some Asian countries. Tilapia is the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish and they inhabit a variety of fresh waters, including streams, ponds, and lakes. Some other interesting facts: Historically, they have been of major importance in fishing in Africa and have become of increasing importance in aquaculture. But this fish can become problematic. It's an invasive species in new warm-water habitats, whether deliberately or accidentally introduced. Yet, it's now the fifth most important fish in fish farming, because of its large size, rapid growth, and palatability. China and Egypt are the largest producers in the world. Commercially grown tilapia are almost exclusively male. Who knew??

Well, I got me some of St.Peter's fish for dinner. Went home. Placed salmon in freezer, then searched the web for tilapia recipes. And this is what caught my eye ~ Tilapia with Citrus Bagna Cauda Sauce. Sounded intriguing, but what the heck was bagna cauda? Searched the internet again...found out that it's a rustic butter sauce. Yes, butter! Melted butter sautéed with garlic and anchovy. Add some fresh orange and lemon juice along with the zest and you're done. I gave the recipe a try since I happen to like anchovies, tweaked it a bit. Added some shallots and replaced the basil with thyme. The dish turned out great! I served the fish over wild rice, roasted cherry tomatoes and broccoli. Healthy and delicious. Note: I didn't tell my husband about the anchovy.

Tilapia with Citrus Bagna Cauda

Roasted Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes over Wild Rice

Recipe curtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Serves 4


3 tbsp butter, unsalted

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tbsp

4 anchovy fillets, minced

4 tbsp minced shallots

1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

2 tbsp orange juice, fresh or store-bought

2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh thyme

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp orange zest

4 skinless tilapia fillets

1 1/2 cups broccoli, cut into 2" flowerets

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, assorted colors

Ground paprika

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Wild rice, cooked according to package


Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Prepare wild rice according to instructions on package. Cook the butter and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over low to medium heat just until the butter is melted, stirring frequently. Add the anchovies and stir until the anchovies dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the orange juice, thyme, and lemon and orange zests. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and freshly ground pepper. The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before using.

Rub fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Place broccoli and tomatoes in a roasting pan big enough to hold the vegetables and fish fillets. Drizzle the broccoli and tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add fish. Return to oven and roast for another 6-8 minutes until fish is just opaque in center.

Serve the tilapia with wild rice and the roasted vegetables. Drizzle the sauce over and serve.

Fish photos from Wikipedia and Cooking photos by Anna Simon.


  1. Hej Anna,

    Tack för hälsningen häromdan. Trevligt att bekanta sig med nya bloggansikten. Vad roligt att du skriver om matlagning och glutenfri kost! I Sverige tycker jag det är svårt att "få till det" med de glutenfria produkterna, särskilt vid bakning. Utbudet är inte heller så stort som man skulle önska. Det ska bli jätteintressant att följa dig och få tips o idéer. Fisken ser riktigt smarrig ut!

    Kram Sanna

  2. Hej Sanna. Vad kul att få en hälsning, på svenska dessutom! Dom sista 5 åren har det verkligen förändrats på marknaden här i USA. Nu finns det ett jättestort urval av glutenfria produkter. Även många restauranger erbjuder en GF meny. Helt super! I Sverige går det tyvärr mycket långsammare. Men när jag var där sist nu i höstas fanns det lite mer att välja på ICA och COOPen. Här blandar jag mina egna mjölblandningar istället för att köpa färdig, och det gör stor skillnad när man bakar. Jag bakar rätt mycket svenskt, det blir lussebullar och peppisar i helgen!


  3. Vilka fina bilder!
    Har aldrig sett Tilapia annat än fillead.
    Kul med lite information för jag visste inget annat än att den är god och prisvärd.
    Visste heller inte att farmraised lax är fetare och blir bättre gravlax.
    Vi åt Halibut och clams igår, bara enkelt med citron, rivet citronskal, och vitt vin.