Have you guys ever accidentally made the best thing ever?
Like…you’re fooling around in the kitchen, cooking. You are throwing in a little of this, a smidge of that.
And, to be fair, you’re pretty sure it’s gonna be good. (Because…c’mon…this is you we’re talking about…) But you weren’t quite prepared for it to be that good.
In fact, you go to take a little taste and the flavor hits you all at once and you’re thinking…”Whoa! What just happened in my pan?”
Such was the case for me and this fish. For those of you who have followed a while, you know I do #MeatlessFridays during Lent, which, for reasons I do not know, allows me to eat fish. (I don’t make up the rules, I just follow them).
I know plenty of great fish dishes but I had a craving for tomatoes. Oh…tomatoes. I long for summertime and fresh tomatoes. But I digress.
So I headed to the store…bought me some fire-roasted tomatoes (they are naturally sweeter and have a greater depth of flavor than regular tomatoes), some onions and asparagus, and I went home to introduce these simple ingredients to some frozen tilapia filets in my freezer.
Ok so you may not know this about me.
The only thing I love more than having my hands in fresh food…is being able to cook a meal using only one pan.
And the only thing I love more than getting to use only one pan…is when a recipe has just a few simple ingredients.
And the only thing I love more than all of that is when the recipe doesn’t take 8 million years to cook!
This recipe I’m about to show you is all that…and more. Follow me because this moves quickly.
We start with some good ol’ onions. They are the start of everything good that ever happens in my kitchen, by the way.
Next, let’s just chop up some beautiful, verdent asparagus, shall we? Dear Foodies: I. Love. Asparagus. And it’s EVERYWHERE right now. I’m, like, in asparagus heaven in so many ways. So many ways. But let’s not lose focus.
Once you’re done chopping the onions and asparagus you’re going to put a large skillet over medium heat and allow it to get hot. Then add about a tablespoon of olive oil and swizzle it around the pan. (You know what swizzle means…it means exactly what you think it means…)
Add your onions and saute them for a minute or so before adding the asparagus and 1 clove of minced fresh garlic (or a teaspoon of minced garlic from the jar).
While that’s going, you wanna crack open two cans of the tomatoes. I swear I could just get a spoon and eat this stuff like soup. NOM!
Now here I have it in a bowl so you can see it in all its beauty but in reality, ain’t nobody got time to dirty up a bowl! So just dump it in the skillet with everything else and bring it to a low boil before sticking in four tilapia filets. (NOTE: If, for WHATEVER reason, you don’t like tilapia…play with your food! I suggest a white fish, though, as they cook super fast.)
Then top the fish with Cajun seasoning. If you don’t have (or don’t like) Cajun seasoning, I’d go with salt, pepper, a little chili powder, and some paprika (bonus points if it’s smoked paprika), along with a quick squeeze of lemon juice, to brighten things up.
Now…here’s the beauty of this recipe. At this point, you put the lid on it and…walk away! That’s right, you walk away. Well, wait. I drop my heat down to medium-low (if you have a burner with numbers, that’d be about #4). Then I walk away.
Allow it to simmer about 25-ish minutes and when you remove the lid you should see…
All the things that are beautiful about life That your dish has cooked up into a vibrant, fragrant pan of wonderfulness! And the only thing to wash is a knife and a cutting board. BAM!
Now from here, you have a few choices. I’ll tell you mine first:
- Allow this to cool and pack individually in plastic containers for a week’s worth of lunch AND for good measures, put a sticky note on the outside that says “Brussels sprouts.” (hehehe)
- This dish pairs well with brown rice or couscous if your family likes either. Just a note that I sourced ALL the ingredients for this recipe from Aldi, which means it was hella cheap. But it also means you can get something like their Parmesan couscous, or even some seasoned quinoa, and feel good about serving your family something yummy and healthy.
- For you, the possibilities are also endless. If you eat quinoa, go for it! If not, cauliflower rice also works.
Now the sauce will seem soupy at first. Let it sit. It will thicken into a luscious, delicious sauce! I’ve now made this recipe twice and the most tilapia filets I could stuff in my pan were four decent sized ones. Your mileage may vary. As always, play with your food!