Tilapia is known as the ‘garbage’ fish, apparently due to its dietary habits —sounds kinda judgy to us, we certainly don’t need that kind of negative commentary about what we eat — it was also likely the fish that was eaten by Jesus and his disciples, just saying. Setting that aside, the name Tilapia is also somewhat generic, referring to over 100 species of white fish. It is actually a very healthy protein, as is most fish, with good omega levels.
It is also a fatty fish, again somewhat judgmental in our view, especially when many of us consider fats and oils as an asset in the meats we cook. Fat equals flavor in most cooking, and with meats it also means a moister result when you cook it up. This recipe is more of a poached fish style, which enhances mild flavors and keeps nice texture to the meat.
Curry makes Tilapia look like a piker when it comes to being generic. Yes, there is indeed a curry plant, but it rarely appears in the dishes we call ‘curry’. It is kind of difficult to nail down the origins of curry. It is most often associated with foods from India, although it is used in restaurants all over, generally in reference to just about any dish that has a south eastern Asian flavor profile. As a result, we call the spice blend curry.
This is a fun area for exploration because there are yellow curries (most common in the US), red curries, green curries and brown curries. Ground mustard, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cayenne and others will pop in and out of each of the curies. The spices are often blended into pastes which allow for the use of fresh ingredients form garlic to ginger and peppers to tomato puree. With them can be an astounding variation in the spices heat spectrum. For this recipe we are using simple yellow curry from the grocery. It will include man of the spices we’ve mentioned, then get the yellow color from turmeric, a mildly aromatic spice.
Curry also refers to food seasoned and sauced, or served with gravy. Naturally these dishes are often served atop rice, a staple in the regions that use this flavor profile. It also makes sense; rice is an exceptional vehicle for sauced foods. In that respect, we are going nontraditional in this dish, serving it with potatoes as the starch.
Collard greens are a staple in southern US cooking, often stewed or simmered with the addition of bacon fat and vinegar. They also appear in various international cooking with a variety of cooking styles. Their vegetable family includes similar items like kale, bok choy, mustard greens and such.
Collards will run to the tougher end of the spectrum. Since we are not using a lengthy cooking technique with them you will want to trim them well, removing all the fibrous areas of the stem, leaving just the green leaf areas to cook.
Tilapia Curry, w/ Garlic Potatoes & Collard Greens
- 4 Good-sized Tilapia fillets
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 2 Medium Shallots
- ¼ Cup Dry white wine
- 1 Cup Heavy cream
- ¼ Cup Currants
- 1 - 2 Teaspoons Curry powder
- Chopped chives or parsley for garnish
- Salt to taste
Potatoes and greens
- 1 Bunch Collard greens
- 4 Large Potatoes or equivalent potatoes of your choice
- ⅓ Cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Garlic cloves
- ¼ Teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- Rinse collard greens and trim out the stems
- Stack the collard leaves and cut into approximately ½ inch strips
- Peel and finely dice the shallots
- Peel and slice the garlic cloves
- Peel potatoes, if necessary, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with water and add 2 Tablespoons salt
- Put the pot over high heat and bring to a boil
- Separately, bring a small amount of water to a boil
- Put the currants in a heat-proof bowl
- Add enough boiling water to cover the currants and let soak
- When the potatoes begin to boil add the greens
- when the potato/greens water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium
- Cook the potatoes and greens, partially covered, for 15 minutes until tender
- Put 6 tbsps. oil in the small saucepan over medium-low heat
- Add the garlic to the saucepan and cook, stirring ocassionally
- Avoid browning the garlic, cook until it turns pale gold, about 10 minutes
- Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a broad fry pan over medium heat
- Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes
- Add the fish filets to the skillet in one layer
- Pour 1/4 cup wine around the fish season with salt and pepper
- Cover the fry pan, cook for about 7 minutes until the fillets are opaque
- Remove the garlic from the heat and stir in 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- Drain the currants and pat them dry
- Remove the cooked fish and transfer it to a warmed platter
- In the same skillet, add 1 cup cream and the currants
- Stir, and reduce the heat to lowv
- Simmer the cream for about 3 minutes
- Stir in 1 tsp. curry powder, and taste the cream, add more curry and salt to taste
- Drain the potatoes and collards and put them in a bowl
- Pour the garlic and hot pepper oil over them, toss, season with salt and pepper if desired
- Put a fillet on each of four plates, cover with the sauce and sprinkle with chives or parsley
- Serve up the taters and greens
- Pour the wine and enjoy your meal!