How to Make Grilled Tilapia

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Making grilled tilapia is a very simple process that yields very delicious results. Find out how to make grilled tilapia with help from a hospitality professor at University of New Haven in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Coastal Flavors
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm chef Jeff Trombetta from the University of New Haven in Connecticut, and today I'm going to show you how to make grilled tilapia. So let's get started on this very simple preparation. Let's get started with seasoning or marinating if you will, the fish and ready for grilling. You can see I have a flat griddle, grill, also called a grill. And I have essentially a char broiler grill. Grilling is where the heat comes from the bottom. That's all it really means. I am not going to do the fish, something delicate and white that will fall apart and it's not being held together with its own skin. I will not do it on the grates. It'll be a mess. You're asking for trouble. I am going to do it on a flat griddle. So I am going to begin to season this fish, kind of Tuscany style. A little pepper, this is how the Tuscans would season a steak. OK. But they eat a lot of fish over there. I'm using whole herbs, that's sage by the way. And this is oregano. So I'm just going to get embedded right into the fish fillet. Some of this will fall off. That's OK. This is going to be rustic. This is on the grill. Lemon juice, ample lemon juice. So this is a seasoning or a marinade. And ample virgin olive oil. Give that a moment you know, to embed. I would actually let this sit fifteen, twenty minutes. So that's going to be full flavored. Now let's also make sure our griddle's hot. We want it as hot as possible. That's going to be 500, 600 degrees. OK. You could hear it sizzle, that's a wet towel. And you don't want to cook on wetness, but because it's so hot it dries up right away. Now we have the residual oil that's on the pan, I mean on the fish, that will get onto the griddle and prevent sticking. Once you get this on there do not move it. I'm going to brush it. It's like basting, just like you would barbeque sauce or anything on the grill. I think it's an important component of cooking. So brush this marinade or Tuscan seasoning over the back. So I'm going to brown it up pretty good from that side. And then I'm going to turn it over and that's it. A nice long sharp spatula, that's why they call this a pastry knife. OK. And we're going to have somewhere to put it. Make sure the whole thing is loose before you pick it up. The beauty of not cooking that top side or the skin side, notice how I put the bone side down first, because that's the side I want to brown, that's the side I'm going to present and that's the nicest looking side. But I did not flip it on to the skin side and it was still raw so when I picked it up, a delicate fish that starts to flake, if it was completely cooked through it might fall apart on me. But I did my job. I grilled it and now I'm going to just let it finish in a slow oven. I might re-drizzle it, keep it moist, just a little bit. It's got enough salt and pepper, a little bit of olive oil and just another lemon, OK, just to kind of freshen it up and give it some moisture while it holds in the oven. I don't want my fish to dry out. So this is important. So I'm going to go right into my 250 degree oven. So let's make a little edible garnish for our grilled tilapia. That's olive oil, and these are blanch snow peas. So this is going to go very quickly. I want to hear a sizzle so I know I'm heating these up. These are just some sweet julienne of orange, red and yellow peppers. This is just going to brighten and freshen it up. There will be also a wonderful flavor. Always season whatever you're cooking, kosher salt, white pepper. Seasoning brings out the natural flavor of what you have, not adds flavor. So I don't want to make it salty or peppery. That's adding flavor, I'm just seasoning. You should taste a piece of something to make sure it's seasoned correctly. That's actually wonderful, those peppers sweet, they're starting to give off the aroma, they're still kind of raw. So we're going to put our garnish, our edible garnish, our sauteed vegetables right in the middle and we're going to put out fish to either side, make a little room there. Take our two nicest looking fish or two most uniform looking fish. It's done perfectly. It's not falling apart. But I could tell it would flake apart if I tried to, kind of tighten things up here a little bit. I'm not happy, I'm going to make a little V, I think that will be better. A V will be better. We're going to take our pan juices and sprinkle it over the top, evenly distribute them. I think what we're going to do is take one of these Meyer lemons, cut it nice and thin, nice meaty center section right there. Put that right on the base where the fish are joining and you could even to another one to overlap. This is the front of the plate, that would be behind the plate facing the customer. When we turn this OK, always make sure your plate is proper. So let's take a taste of our grilled fresh tilapia, Tuscan style. So we have it basting in its virgin olive oil and lemon juice. And we have a wonderful snow pea garnish, which I'm going to taste also. Let me stab this if I can. I'm wrestling with it, there we go. It has that grilled flavor from that browning or kind of charring right on that 600 degree flat top, fresh grilled tilapia. I'm chef Jeff Trombetta, from the University of New Haven in Connecticut.


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