Grilled Tilapia from the Philippines

Tilapia is a popular fish in the Philippines. In high school, after our day ended, I would hang out in my best friend Claire’s home. We devoured deep fried tilapia, which we ate with our hands, dipped into a Silver Swan and Datu Puti mixture as we chased away the saltiness with spoonfuls of hot steaming white rice. We never thought of tilapia as health food. It was the food of the common Filipino. It was the fish we grilled on the beach and ate in sidewalk carinderias, which littered the traffic-filled streets of our metropolis.

Imagine my surprise when years later, as I flipped on my TV to watch Oprah, I saw Dr. Oz, Oprah’s sidekick doctor and expert on health and food, tout tilapia as a miracle fish. According to Livestrong.Com, tilapia is rich high quality protein, low in fat and a good source of vitamins.

Louie, a regular contributor to Healthy Eats, would like to share his Lemon Pepper Tilapia recipe! I really wish WordPress had a virtual taste button so I could try these. Perhaps next time I visit, Louie will grill some of these for me and B, and bake us cheesecake :-D.

From Louie's facebook status update on July 14: Todays menu via the garden and friends. Tomato soup (Thanks Sacha) with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme (Thanks Simon and Garfunkel). Maple Glazed Lemon Squash (Thanks Sacha), Cucumber/Scallion/carrot Salad, grilled Green Squash / Eggplant Sandwich on fresh Sun dried tomato/Parmigiana cheese bread (Thanks Laurie for my French bread pan, I really like it), and lemon pepper grilled talipia (Thanks fish farmers)

This recipe serves 6-8 people.

8 tilapia fillets
2 lemons
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
fresh dill weed
fresh ground pepper

For the marinade:
Zest and juice 2 lemons. Add the juice to 1 cup of water and the EVOO. Whisk the mixture. Lay the tilapia fillets in a flat pan and add the marinade. Do not cover the pan. Lightly salt and sprinkle dill weed and lemon zest on top of fillets. Grind fresh pepper over fillets. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

I use disposable grill covers but fish baskets can be used too.

Lightly oil grill basket and lay fillets on it.

Grill for about six minutes, flip basket, and grill for six more.

Serve and devour! Yum!

Salmon is B’s fave fish so I’ve cooked this several times in the past month. Apparently, it’s salmon season in the US so we’ve been able to find salmon fillets for a very reasonable price in Walmart.

The hunt for dill was a little more challenging. There’s an organic herb section in Walmart where they didn’t have fresh dill on the first day we looked, so we bought dry dill weed instead. Two days later, I found fresh dill in the same Walmart section so I’ve been using it every time we cook salmon. In Manila, I’ve found fresh dill in Santi’s Delicatessen.  I have yet to look for dill in Mumbai!

This serves two.


For the salmon:
2 pcs salmon steak
2 stems of dill
olive oil

For the dressing:
4 tablespoons of Japanese mayonnaise or any low fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard (any kind will do)
1 stem of dill

For the salad:
1 cucumber
10-15 pcs of red grapes
goat cheese
3-4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven for 30 minutes to 350 degrees. Rub the dill on the salmon steak and leave for at least 15 minutes. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake the salmon for around 15 minutes. Sprinkle with capers.

To make the salmon dressing, remove the dill leaves from the stem and chop into tiny bits. Combine the mayonnaise, mustard and dill.

For the salad, shred the lettuce and dice the cucumber. Combine your lettuce, cucumber,  grapes and goat cheese on a plate and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

Healthy Eat facts:

Salmon – improves metabolism and can lower blood sugar levels

Dill – improves digestion and can help people with sleep disorders

Capers – rich in anti-oxidants

Cucumber – low in calories and a good source of potassium

Goat cheese – lower in calories compared to cheese made from cow’s milk; high in protein and calcium

Balsamic vinegar – is a source of calcium, iron, manganese and potassium, which improve the body’s functioning and weight loss abilities


Organic Facts
The World’s Healthiest Foods