This tilapia topped with a creamy lobster mornay sauce and fresh veggies. is my take on a recipe we used to order The Pickle Barrel in Toronto. It was really the first fish dish that I ventured into trying (I hated fish as a kid), and it was instant love. I’m guessing a lot of that had to do with the super creamy sauce and lobster, lol.
I don’t cook a lot of fish, for a few different reasons. First, I’m not a fan of fishy fish, and neither is my five year old, Oliver. Second, I am totally overwhelmed buying fish. I don’t like buying bags of frozen fillets that are all stuck together and covered in freezer burn. When I try to go up to the fresh fish counter in the grocery store, I feel like a bit of an idiot because I don’t know what to ask for. I don’t know what makes a good fillet of fish, or what to avoid, and so I often just end up avoiding the counter entirely.
It’s been bothering me though that I don’t cook more fish for the family. It’s so healthy for you, with all that protein and omega 3’s, the kids know it as “brain food”, so it really should be a bigger part of our diet. This is why I was so excited when I found out High Liner was now selling their premium cuts of sustainably sourced fish in the fresh fish section of our Superstore. They took all of the guess-work out of choosing the right fillets, and I was able to shop confidently; comfortable with the quality of fish I was buying for us to eat.
High Liner Simply Fish is currently offering six different types of fish like this: salmon, cod, trout, haddock, sole, and tilapia. I went with the tilapia because it’s really not a fishy fish. It’s a fish that takes on the flavours of whatever you pair it with, be it a good hit of spice, or a sweet Asian inspired glaze.
My absolute favourite way to eat tilapia though – covered in a garlicy lobster sauce with chunks of tail meat, slightly crisp veggies, all sitting on a bed of coconut water cooked basmati rice. It’s just mouthful after mouthful of flavour, and all three of my kids, from 14 months to 5 years, couldn’t get enough of it.
The lobster tail meat slowly cooking in the garlic butter.
Here is the pan-fried tilapia fillet. They’re just dusted in some seasoned flour before hitting the hot, oiled pan. Only 2 minutes on each side and the fish was perfectly cooked. Nice and flaky, just falling apart with the push of our forks.
Lobster Mornay Sauce
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 lobster tails, (3-4oz each and uncooked), meat removed from shells and diced
- ¼ cup flour
- 1¼ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ tsp pepper, to taste
- ½ tsp salt, to taste
- ½ tsp old bay seasoning
- ½ cup grated hard italian cheese (parmesan, pecorino romano, etc).
Pan Seared Tilapia
- 4 tilapia fillets
- ½ cup flour
- 2 tsp old bay seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- oil to fry
Lobster Mornay Sauce
- Melt ¼ cup of the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the lobster meat and simmer slowly, tossing frequently, until opaque (don't over cook).
- Remove the lobster meat from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 tbsp butter to the pan and melt. Whisk in the flour, and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Slowly pour in the heavy cream and stock, whisking to combine. Stir in the salt, pepper, and old bay seasoning. Let simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes to thicken.
- Whisk in the cheese. Return the lobster meat to the pan, taste, and add more salt or pepper if needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Pan Seared Tilapia
- Whisk together the flour, old bay seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Heat just enough olive oil over medium-high in a large frying pan to skim the bottom.
- Lightly dredge two of the fish fillets in the flour mixture, then shake off any excess. Add to the pan and leave for two minutes without touching. Gently flip, then cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until done.
- Remove the cooked fillets to a plate and tent lightly with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining two fillets.
- Make sure the mornay sauce is still warm, then pour it over the tilapia fillets. Serve immediately.
*See notes below for information on cooking the veggies and rice*
For the sauted veggies:
Finely julienne 2 large carrots, 2 zucchini, and 1 red bell pepper. Saute in a large pan with a few tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the zucchini and pepper is tender, and the carrots still have the slightest crunch to them.
For the coconut basmati rice:
Soak 2 cups basmati rice in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and rise with cold water again. Add the rice to a large lidded pot, along with 2 cups of coconut water, and 2 cups regular water. Bring to a boil, and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer over medium heat for 12 minutes. Turn of the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid. Fluff with a fork.
I do the rice, then the veggies, then fish, then mornay sauce. Top with fresh parsley and some more cheese if you want. Enjoy!
Disclosure: I am part of the High Liner Simply Fish Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.