Hi guys! I made THE best tilapia last night. Best. Ever. I know you are thinking…..what was Courtney doing eating tilapia and not chicken fried steak, or pure lard or something? Yes kids, sometimes I keep it light;) And it was super necessary last night because all of these fruit crisps, and cheesecake bars are catching up with me. So last night I cooked fish. But my husband and kids ate chicken. Losers.
A couple of months ago, I showed you a recipe for Chicken in a Tequila Cream Sauce. This recipe is called Pina Colada Fish (or Chicken). And similarities to the Chicken in a Tequila Cream Sauce end after the use of booze. One used tequila and one uses rum, but this dish I am about to show you is light and healthy and the other one wasn’t. I can’t sugar coat it. It just wasn’t.
This recipe features tilapia (or chicken) that is quickly sautéed and then coated in a light sauce of rum and light coconut milk. It is then topped with a pineapple salsa and toasted coconut…..and it is crazy good. I served mine over rice, and it rocked. I will show you how I made it.
Let’s start with the pineapple salsa. This recipe will give you more salsa then you need, but you will thank me. You will be glad you have extra, just make sure you have tortilla chips on hand.
I used crushed pineapple, cilantro, lime, a jalapeno, red onion, bell pepper and salt.
I chose crushed pineapple because it was one less thing I would have to cut. I KNOW……I know that my onions and bell peppers are already chopped. I hate to cut/chop.
I drained my pineapple really well. I pushed it against the sieve with my hand…..I drained off all the juice that I could.
I used one half of a jalapeno. I removed all of the ribs and seeds, as this is where the heat lives. You can adjust your hotness level as you wish.
In a bowl, I mixed up my pineapple, diced onion, diced bell pepper, cilantro, jalapeno and salt. Then, I squeezed the juice of a lime over the top and mixed again.
This right here could be the whole recipe and I would be happy. It is sweet, spicy and all together crazy good. I popped this in the fridge while I finished the rest of the dish.
As for the coconut, I spread it out on a baking sheet and baked it at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. This will be the topped for my fish (or chicken). Can we just agree that every time I say fish I am talking about the chicken too?
I used about 6 ounces of fish and about a pound of thin sliced chicken breasts. If you can’t find thin sliced chicken breast, pound out your chicken so it is thin. Otherwise, it will have to cook forever in your pan,
I also used oil, butter, rum and light coconut milk.
Light coconut milk is pretty readily available in your grocery store’s Asian section. It has ½ the fat and calories of regular coconut milk. Hence the “light” in its name.
I seasoned the fish with salt and white pepper. White pepper isn’t a necessity, it is just what I grabbed first.
Season on both sides.
Next, I sautéed the fish in a combination of butter and oil. The butter is for flavor, but the oil has a higher smoke point and won’t burn.
Once the fish was done, I removed it from the pan and poured my rum straight into the fishy pan. I stirred this around and let it reduce. Be careful if you have a gas stove…..pour in the booze off the heat…..if you like your eyebrows.
Make sure scrape the pan to get up all the good chicken and fish bits. I know that sounds gross, but it really is good flavor.
Finally, I stirred in the coconut milk. I let this reduce a bit too.
Now everything is ready….it just needs to be assembled.
I started with rice, then fish, then sauce, then salsa and finally, toasted coconut.
Are you kidding me? This has all the flavors of a pina colada and a helluva lot more. The salsa is fresh and light, and the sauce tastes rich and creamy. Again, so crazy good.
Look at all the pretty colors!
I felt like I was on a tropical vacation. Except my kids where there and that isn’t a relaxing vacation.
They ate this with chicken like I said above, but I really recommend you make this with tilapia. Fish loves tropical flavors and tilapia is no exception.
You have to try this.
Pina Colada Tilapia
1 pound tilapia
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup rum
1/3 cup light coconut milk
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
20 ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained
½ cup red onion, chopped
½ cup bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
½ a jalapeno, chopped-seeds and ribs removed
Juice of one lime
¼ teaspoon salt
To prepare salsa, place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake coconut on a baking sheet for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Season fish with salt and pepper. Melt butter in oil in a sauté pan. Sauté fish over medium high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove from pan.
Add rum to pan. Boil for about a minute scraping the bottom of the pan as it cooks. Add coconut milk and simmer for another minute. Sauce will reduce and thicken.
Top fish with sauce, salsa and toasted coconut.