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Seared Tilapia with Spicy Orange Salsa

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 121

This zippy salsa is delicious with just about any type of fish or shellfish, including halibut, shrimp, and scallops. If you don’t want too much spicy heat, don’t use the entire chile.

  • 4 medium navel oranges (about 2 lb.)
  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chile, minced (seeds included)
  • 4 5-oz. tilapia fillets
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. mild olive oil

Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the ends of the oranges to expose a circle of flesh. Stand each orange on an end and pare off the rest of the peel, including all the white pith, in strips, following the curve of the orange. Working over a medium bowl, carefully cut on both sides of each orange segment to free it from the membranes. Then squeeze the membranes over the bowl to collect any remaining juice. Cut the segments crosswise into 4 pieces and return to the bowl.

Add the onion, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and 1 tsp. salt and gently stir to combine. Add enough of the chile to suit your taste and stir. Let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to meld the flavors.

Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Cook 2 of the fillets, flipping once, until browned and just cooked through, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to dinner plates. Repeat with the remaining fillets. Using a slotted spoon to drain excess juice, top the fish with the salsa and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The salsa can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Cover and keep at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 290; Fat (g): fat g 10; Fat Calories (kcal): 80; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2; Protein (g): protein g 30; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 22; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 360; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 70; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

My family loved this refreshing dish. We grilled halibut and there was none of the salsa left (there was only 3 of us). I did not use the orange juice as this would have made the salsa too watery. We love spicy foods so this salsa really added flavor to the mild flavored halibut. I will definitely add this to my list of rotating recipes.

I thought this was a refreshing, simple, and healthy entree. Although I like spicy food, I did seed the pepper to cut back the heat and used key limes, extras from a pie, which were fine. The salsa adds such a nice flavor to this mild fish.

They weren't kidding when they said SPICY Orange Salsa! We love spicy things, but this salsa was overwhelming and overpowered the entire dish. Next time we will seed the jalapeno before making the salsa. Otherwise it was average, tilapia could have used some seasoning other than just adding the salsa.

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