Recipe: Local Tilapia with Sweet Potato Hash and Tomato Coulis

It’s Local Fish Week here on the BAMCO blog, in honor of our first-ever Eat Local (Fish) Challenge! According to a new report from NOAA, Americans eat only about 15 pounds of seafood per capita annually, and of that, 91% is imported. Time to tip the scales in a healthy, homeward location!

Local Tilapia with Tomato Coulis and Sweet Potato Hash

From Edward T. Farrow, Bon Appétit Executive Chef at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ

This dish takes some assembling, but its bold flavors pair well with mild tilapia and makes for a fresh, delicious dinner. Serves 4

Fire Roasted Tomato Coulis

Yield: 2 cups

  • 4 heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 onions, whole
  • 1 clove garlic, minced very fine
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, minced fine
  • 1 pinch smoked paprika

Roast tomatoes and onions over grill until surface is charred. Puree tomatoes, onions, garlic, oil, and oregano until smooth.

Finish with smoked paprika and season to taste.

Herbed Sweet Potato Hash

Yield: 3 cups

  • 4 small sweet potatoes, 1-inch dice
  • 3 small rutabaga, 1-inch dice
  • 3 onions, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced very fine
  • 5 leaves purple sage, roughly chopped
  • 1 twig rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Sweat onions and garlic until translucent in 1 teaspoon of oil in a non-stick pan.

Add 2 tablespoons oil, and then add potatoes and rutabagas. Sauté until tender, seasoning to taste as you go.

Remove from heat and add herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Toss hash mix with the sherry wine vinegar.

Grilled Tilapia

  • 1 lb tilapia filets (assume 4 ounces of fish per person)
  • Salt and pepper

Start a grill or barbecue. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. If grilling on a barbecue, a screen or fish cage would be nice but not essential if the grill is hot enough (Use a little non-stick spray and it will work perfectly). A hot cast-iron or non-stick pan is fine too. If using an oven, roast the filets with a little olive oil for 5-7 minutes at 375 degrees.

Cooking should take about 2 minutes on each side. Tilapia is a fairly thin and lean fish, so the lack of oil helps it cook faster. The flesh is fairly translucent — when it becomes “white and flakey,” it is done. Depending on how fresh the fish is, it would be better to undercook than overcook due to the fish’s leanness factor.  It is great raw, so a tad undercooked is still delicious.

Dish Construction

Begin with a small pool of tomato coulis on a plate and place hash on top. Then, place grilled tilapia on top of hash. Garnish fish with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and minced sage. Serve with salad of  local seasonal ingredients.

Executive Chef Edward Farrow

Edward Farrow is the executive chef and general manager for Bon Appétit Management Company at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. A Slow Food member since 2005, Edward is a champion for local and sustainable food — and even in the desert, has successfully formed strong partnerships with Arizona farmers, ranchers, fish farmers, winemakers, and other artisan producers. He oversaw the museum’s grand opening in 2010 and ensured its success by hiring and training a top-level culinary team and delivering excellent service. Prior to joining Bon Appétit, he worked as the lead chef and director of restaurant operations for various establishments throughout the Southwest. He received his culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America and is also a Level One certified sommelier.