Thanks to a giving colleague’s very successful fishing trip, Paul and I have a freezer full of wild-caught Alaskan fish that would have otherwise cost us an arm and a leg, but has lent itself to many delicious (and cost-less) meals over the season. This week’s meal was inspired by the last remaining tilapia in the freezer and in a rare culinary feat, I actually planned more than 24 hours in advance and was able to marinate it!
There is something about “grilled coconut lime tilapia tacos with kiwi jalapeno salsa” that gets you hooked before you even see the pictures. Fish tacos mean warmer seasons, kiwis remind me of summer, and anything with tacos is appealing to me. For all of these reasons, I selected my recipe and anticipated deliciousness long before the flavors of coconut heating in the skillet were wafting through the hallways.
Despite the 22 hour marinade, this was minimal prep time; just extra planning, which is fine for a more special meal. This can be tough when you cook by the seat of your pants, as I often do, but I assure you this one is worth the trouble.
Like many meals, this recipe wasn’t void of mistakes. My first hiccup was when my boyfriend brought home coconut milk (the beverage) and not the real deal that you find in the international food aisle in a can, offering the thick, flavorful consistency you want for cooking. My second hiccup was when I discovered I was out of garlic. Coconut milk and garlic were two of three ingredients required for the marinade, I was already way past bedtime in pajamas with no hope of rallying for a late night shop.
I’ve learned through many culinary adventures that it’s as equally important to go with the flow as it is to strictly follow a recipe, and I was desperate to eat these tacos, so I used extra coconut milk beverage and a lot of dried garlic powder (sigh) and hoped for the best.
Besides my marinade struggles, it turned out so well! It was a huge hit and was emphatically added to “the list” of must-make-agains. The flavor of the tilapia was great as a stand-alone, but superb doused in delicious salsa and was further enhanced with a zealous amount of cilantro. This was the perfect recipe to segway into spring and one I will most certainly be making again.
Ingredients for Tacos
– 6 tilapia filets
– 1/3 cup light coconut milk
– 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
– 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– whole wheat tortillas
– For topping: chopped avocado, shredded lettuce, cilantro
Instructions for Tacos
- 24 hours before serving, add tilapia filets to a large ziplock bag. Combine coconut milk, lime zest, salt, pepper and garlic in a bowl, stirring to combine, then pour over tilapia, shaking the bag to coat.
- Let marinate for 24 hours.
- Heat your skillet to a medium-high heat and add tilapia (you can also use a grill or pan; whatever you have on hand). Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until fish flakes with a fork.
- Serve with warm tortillas and toppings of your choice.
Ingredients for Kiwi Jalapeno Salsa
– 4 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
– 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
– 1/2 jalapeno, chopped
– 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (I go heavy on the cilantro, always)
– pinch of salt
– pinch of pepper
Instructions for Salsa
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix.