Tilapia Provençale

19 Oct

Jamie and I had the pleasure this summer of stumbling upon a few used book sales. This is a fabulous way to spend a Saturday morning, with your coffee in hand and browsing through well loved books to discover a hidden gem.

I find my feet taking me directly to the cookbook tables where I can spend hours flipping through cookbooks looking for long lost recipes or ethnic delicacies. Much to my surprise, this summer I happened upon a (basically) brand new copy of Michael Smith’s Best of Chef at Home. My brother-in-law has a copy of this cookbook and has told me on many occasions that it is a great staple to have in your cookbook repertoire.

Who isn’t envious of Michael Smith’s well stocked pantry, with mason jars filled with every imaginable spice just waiting to inspire?

I took the opportunity to purchase this book, knowing that I had paid way less than this book is worth (I think I got it for $4).

I spent a few hours scouring over each recipe, marking every other page with a sticky-notes so I didn’t forget which recipes I wanted to try 🙂

I marked the Whitefish Provençale almost instantly, as I was intrigued by the variety of flavours that the ingredients would present. Although I have never blogged about it, Jamie and I eat a lot of fish. Tuna salad is a staple as well as baked tilapia. We bake our tilapia in the oven with lemon juice and pepper. Not too exciting, but it tastes good and is super healthy. It is also a quick dinner to throw together on a weeknight.

OK, back to the recipe. It called for halibut, but since we always have and abundance of tilapia in the freezer, we used that instead. We basically had all the ingredients necessary to make this dish in our pantry or fridge, except the capers.

Let me share a secret with you. Up until about a year ago, I thought capers were some kind of fish! Like a sardine or something similar. I know, you are likely just shaking your head right now, and I can’t say as I blame you 🙂

This has to be one of the easiest fish recipes to make. You just throw everything into a skillet, and cook on the stove top. Jamie and I have borrowed this recipe to make a delicious sauce for chicken and pork. It is so simple and tasty. In fact, it is so delicious and impressive, that we think we will test it out on friends during one of our next dinner parties.

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Adapted From:
Michael Smith – The Best of Chef at Home: Essential Recipes for Today’s Kitchen
Whitefish Provençale


  • a splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 minced large onion
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of drained capers
  • 1/4 cup of pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup of pitted green olives
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning


  1. Preheat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a splash of olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin film.
  2. Pat the tilapia fillets dry with a piece of paper towel and then lightly season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Carefully place the fillets in the hot oil and sear on both sides, patiently browning them until they are golden brown and beautiful. They don’t have to cook all the way through at this point.
  4. Remove the fillets from the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the tomato mixture to a vigorous simmer, then return the fish to the pan and lower the heat a bit.
  5. Place the fillets into the mixture and continue cooking until they are cooked through, just a few minutes longer. Serve the fish with several generous spoonfuls of the tomato mixture

Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Entrée, Fish, Lemons, Paleo, Vegetables


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Tilapia Provençale

  1. sybaritica

    October 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Lovely recipe … I’m trying to decide how to do some whole Tilapia I came across. I wonder if steaming with the same sort of blend might be nice?

    • Ruby Reduction

      October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am

      Steaming is always a great way to prepare fish. I would love to hear how your version turns out!


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