Jump-start the dinner hour with a lip-searing rub of Cajun spices. Paired with mild-mannered tilapia, then heaped with an ooey-gooey mound of caramelized onion relish, this unlikely duo brings down the house with each magnificent mouthful.
Make the relish ahead of time, then reheat as you sauté the tilapia for a luscious quickie dinner. Serve with thick sliced, perfectly ripened tomatoes drizzled with your best-quality olive oil, or smashed potatoes for a more robust pairing.
‘Spice Capades’ Blackened Tilapia with Caramelized Onion Relish
6 tilapia fillets
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning mix
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt, to taste
Brown Sugar Bombshell Red Onion Relish (recipe follows)
Rinse fillets and pat dry; set aside. Combine the basil, lemon pepper and Cajun seasoning in a bowl large enough to dredge the fillets in (or a paper plate works fine).
Brush each fillet with melted butter and dredge in seasoning mixture.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the oild and cook the fillets for 2 minutes on each side, seasoning lightly with salt. You will probably have to cook the fish in at least 2 batches, so keep the first batch warm as you cook the second. Top each fillet with equal portions of onion relish. Serve immediately.
Brown Sugar Bombshell, Red Onion Relish
3 large red onions
3 or 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt, cracked pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
Cut the onions in half vertically, removing the papery outer layers. With the cut sides down, slice the onions as thinly as possible.
Place oil in a medium skillet and over medium heat and add the onions; season with salt and pepper. Add the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar, stirring every few minutes. As the mixture begins to turn a light golden brown, the moisture will begin to evaporate. Add the remaining vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed.
After 15 minutes, lower the heat to medium low and continue cooking for about 35 minutes. The longer the onions cook, the more you will need to sir them. The onions should be a deep, rich brown. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.