15 April 2013

Grilled Tilapia with Strawberry Salsa

Strawberry season is upon us!  Pull our your oatmeal, bust out the shortcake and grab a pint of vanilla bean.  It's the time of year to garnish everything with these deliciously sweet, bright berries.  Brillant, juicy and fresh, I will eat them on any and everything sweet or savory.  One of my absolute favorite things to make is spicy Strawberry Salsa.  Incredibly flavorful and delicious, this is a perfect garnish over a fillet of simply grilled tilapia for a delicious, nutritious and fruity-licious dinner.

I just love spring.  Buds are bursting, temperatures are rising, eggs are hatching (particularly those in my hanging flower basket, those rascals).  After months of freezing her tail off, the pups is finally able to enjoy a walk outdoors without fear of frostbite.  Often during the week, the hubs and I will enjoy these extended daylight hours with a few laps around the neighborhood on our rollerblades.  And let me tell you, a fifteen pound chug makes a surprisingly superior sled dog.  She can mush like nobody's business.

If a rollerblade tour is taken, we like to opt for the quick and easy dinner.  This meal is perfect for those evenings.  I'll often whip up a batch of this spicy, fresh Strawberry Salsa and eat it throughout the week.  It's basically a fruity version pico de gallo.  Like any great dip, the flavor becomes even better as it sits.  The strawberries pick up the heat of the cayenne while the onions mellow from the red wine vinegar, and cilantro keeps everything fresh and faulous.

This salsa is a fantastic appetizer with chips.  However, we love it over grilled tilapia.  The mild, tender fish is a perfect parter for a deliciously healthy dinner.  Our absolute favorite is with a couple homemade corn tortillas for fruity fish tacos....so good.  But it's also great to eat the fish over tostadas or even a bed of spinach at lunch.

Now we do like things spicy around here, so there's a fair amount of cayenne pepper.  But if you can't handle the heat, no need to get out of the kitchen - just start by halving the cayenne in the recipe and add more to taste if needed.  The salsa tends to get a little spicier as it sits, so take that into account, too.  Oh, and you're welcome in advance for a salsa recipe that accounts for leftovers.  No doubt you will need this a few days later for your wrap/salad/sandwich/strawberry craving.  Fruit lovers, rejoice!

Strawberry Salsa
  • 1 1/2 c strawberries, diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tbs red onion onion, finely minced
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (scant teaspoon if you like milder food)
For the tilapia:
  • 2 fillets tilapia
  • garlic powder, cayenne, etc. for seasoning
  • 4 small corn tortillas, for serving
To make the salsa, chop the strawberries in a small dice and transfer to a small bowl.  Add the cilantro, red onion, red wine vinegar and cayenne pepper, then stir together well.  Let marinade for 20-30 minutes.  Salsa can be made up to two days in advance.

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and brush well with oil.  Season the tilapia fillets to your preference.  Grill on each side for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until fish is opaque.  Remove the tilapia to two plates and garnish with strawberry salsa.  Serve with corn tortillas and grilled zucchini or over spinach as a salad.  

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