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  • One Dish Dinners – Lemon Caper Tilapia with Roasted Garlic

    Posted on | January 2, 2012 | 15 Comments |


    Hope everyone had a great start to the New Year and nobody has broken any resolutions yet. I didn’t make any resolutions this year, have decided to just take on life as it comes. I did think of a few tweaks I would like to make to my lifestyle though! First one is to be a bit more organized in life. Most of last year was kind of a mess where I just couldn’t get a daily routine going and as a result we had to get take-out dinners day after day while the groceries sat rotting in the fridge and the pantry. It is hard to make healthy choices when ordering take-out food, especially when the decisions are made with a grumbling stomach.  So this year I have resolved to get out of work at a reasonable time every evening and somehow find the time to get some exercise in and have home-cooked dinners on week days. Now that I said it out loud, these do sound like resolutions – Eat better and Exercise – classic! Oh well! :)

    Anyway, since today was a holiday, I wanted to get a start on my non-resolution, even though I was still a bit hung-over from all the New Year’s eve festivities. I wanted to make something health and easy with minimum prep work and minimum clean-up after. I was inspired by a Piccata recipe I found in one of my cookbooks, but other than the lemon, garlic and the capers it doesn’t have much to do with a classic Piccata.


    The roasted garlic really gives a concentrated garlic flavor to this dish, but you can always use fresh garlic if you are in a hurry. It is very easy to roast garlic. Just place a whole head of garlic on an aluminum foil, sprinkle some oil, wrap the foil around the garlic to enclose it and bake in a 375F oven for 30 minutes. Once it cools down, you can get the cloves out easily. Extra cloves can be refrigerated for a week or so.

    I used Tilapia filets in this, but you could use any flaky white fish for this. Buying fileted fish saves so much prep time, even though I prefer to have fish with skins and bones whenever I can!

    Inspired by Baked Rockfish Piccata recipe by Chef Sean Langan (Amore Infused) published in Seattle Celebrated Chefs – Volume 3


    • 4 Tilapia filets
    • 1 tbsp red chili powder
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 large lemon
    • 6 cloves roasted garlic
    • 6 baby potatoes, boiled and quartered
    • 6 baby tomatoes, halved
    • 1 tbsp capers
    • 1 tbsp caper juice from the jar
    • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 tbsp oil


    Preheat the oven to 375F.

    Clean the fish filets and pat dry well with paper towels. Marinate both sides with salt and red chili powder.

    Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large oven proof pan. Flash fry the marinated fish filets, just 1 minute on each side. If the pan is not big enough, you can do this in batches in the same pan.


    Switch off the stove and arrange all the flash fried filets on the pan. sprinkle the capers and cherry tomatoes on top, add the caper brine and squeeze the lemon juice all over. Add the lemon rinds also to the plan.


    Add the potatoes and spinach to the pan and give a nice sprinkling of salt and fresh ground pepper all over.


    Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil and the roasted garlic and use a spatula to toss the ingredients, getting some of the vegetables under the fish and getting the juices and oil on all the ingredients.


    Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Once it is done, there should be plenty of pan-juice, so make sure to spoon it over the fish and vegetables while serving. Serve hot with a side salad.


    You can omit the potatoes and throw in other vegetables like beans and asparagus and it will make a great pasta base.

    Category: Quick-fix healthy meals, Seafood

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    15 Responses to “One Dish Dinners – Lemon Caper Tilapia with Roasted Garlic”

    1. Arch
      January 3rd, 2012 @ 7:19 am

      Wow, you seem to be back with a bang ! Step-by-step pics !! Love the idea of this roasted garlic…Dish looks perfect for a cold evening !

      • sig
        January 6th, 2012 @ 9:07 am

        Thanks Arch, Happy New Year!

    2. nags
      January 3rd, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

      I hope this means there are going to be more posts in here :)

      • sig
        January 6th, 2012 @ 9:08 am

        I am sure going to try! :)

    3. Illakiya
      January 4th, 2012 @ 8:43 am

      I’ve been following your food blog religiously for a while now and have tried and succeeded most of your recipes.
      As I have a soft spot for fish, I would really like to try this recipe but I have no idea what capers are and where I would (or if I can) get them..
      Are they crucial to the recipe, how do you think it would be if I omit them, if not do you have any suggestions for substitute?
      Thank you

      • sig
        January 6th, 2012 @ 9:10 am

        Hi Illakiya, capers are a kind of berry used as a garnish in pickled form. It is tart in taste. Green olives are a good substitute, if you don’t have olives handy you can skip them too.

    4. indosungod
      January 4th, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

      Happy New Year! Sig.

      That is one delicious meal. I’d stick with potatoes.

      • sig
        January 6th, 2012 @ 9:11 am

        Happy New Year Indo!

    5. Suparna Menon
      January 4th, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

      The perfect recepie for my family. We loved it .


      • sig
        January 6th, 2012 @ 9:11 am

        You tried it already? Glad you liked it!

    6. gigi
      January 5th, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

      This is beautiful and looks like it took for ever to make… I love the way you did the step by step pictures… It makes me feel like yeah I can do that…. Also this fish is sorta the easiest for me to eat… All my Family and outer family love fish… I just can’t get pass A bad experience with other fish… If I see a worm in the Skin of a fish… Raw or cooked it is over for me…. But because the tilapia is thin and almost see through it..
      And with all the stuff cooked with it it just has to be good…. thank you

      • sig
        January 6th, 2012 @ 9:12 am

        worm on a fish? :( yeah, that is a hard to get over experience.

    7. Mamatha
      January 12th, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

      How did I miss this post?!!! I’m so glad you’re blogging again. That looks delicious! Yeah, I’d stick with the potatoes too.

    8. san
      February 14th, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

      I made this for our V’day dinner today and what to say……’A’ is pretty impressed ;)
      thanks for the delicious recipe

    9. merrywitch
      February 25th, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

      Couple of modifications to help this suit the Indian palette and work with what I got at the local “International Foods” store-
      1. Basa instead of Tilapia
      2. Double the red chilli on the fish
      3. Some chilli flakes thrown in before the bake… am wondering if I should try green chillies next time – the tang with the caper juice, lemon and green chillis could be quite the spice-bomb :)

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