Salty Castellano olives and a dash of cinnamon create irresistible flavor in this classic Tilapia Veracruz recipe. Pair it with fragrant turmeric-saffron rice for an easy and complete meal!
We just don’t eat enough fish in our house.
I don’t really know why that is, because every time we do, we always say “we just don’t eat enough fish in our house.”
It’s a bona fide conundrum.
I mean, really, what’s not to love?
It’s healthy. It’s quick. It’s delicious. <– That’s like the trifecta of dinner-time requirements.
Remember this delicious packet-cooking recipe for Greek-style fish?
Or how about this tropical Snapper Barbados recipe?
Or, my very favorite, this Brazilian Moqueca??
It’s like I forget all about fish until I have some, and then I become re-obsessed with it.
I could say the same thing about my relationship with Lost. Darn you, J.J. Abrams.
I’m loving this Veracruz-style Tilapia, even though the husband likes to complain whenever I put olives in his food. How can you not like olives!?
I love olives of every variety, from the metallic-tang of canned black olives to the robust, oily bitterness of a Kalamata.
These Castellano olives have a wonderful firm bite, a bright acidity, and add just the right about of salt to this savory tomato sauce. You can usually find them in the deli area of a grocery store if they have an olive bar. They are bright green and very pretty.
Along with the olives, the scallions, fresh oregano, and and jalapeno are just the thing to spruce up a trusty can of diced tomatoes.
Lime zest, cinnamon, and a lone bay leaf round out this dish and provide a certain amount of mystery to the flavor profile. Serve this to some friends and see who is first to identify the cinnamon!
Here’s the Recipe!
Tilapia Veracruz with Saffron Rice Recipe
For the Rice
- 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
- 8 saffron threads
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- Juice of 1 lime
For the Tilapia Veracruz
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 jalapeno - minced
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 6 scallions - sliced
- 2 14-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 Tilapia fillets
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped Castellano olives
- Combine the rice, saffron, garlic powder, and turmeric with 2 cups of water in a medium pot. Heat over medium until the water level dips below the rice. Cover, turn the heat to low, and let cook for 15 minutes. Keeping the pot covered, turn off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice and fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeno, minced garlic, and scallions and cook for 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes (with juices) along with the lime zest, cinnamon, bay leaf, and cup of water. Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, pat the fish fillets dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the fillets and cook 2-4 minutes per side, or until opaque and cooked through.
- Stir the oregano and olives into the sauce and turn off the heat. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the fish fillets over a bed of rice, topped with a generous portion of sauce.