Poaching seafood in olive oil makes it virtually impossible to end up with anything other than impossibly tender fish. This formula is also incredibly versatile, since you can infuse the oil (and by association the fish) with any flavors you like. One of our favorites is tilapia with garlic and thyme, but feel free to use other herbs, chilis, citrus -- whatever floats your boat. —Merrill Stubbs
tilapia filets, about 1/4 pound each
olive oil (not your best, but something decent)
fat garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
In This Recipe
Heat the oven to 275 degrees F. Arrange the fish in a single layer in a shallow baking dish, overlapping the thinner areas of the filets slightly to create a uniform thickness for even cooking.
Pour enough olive oil into the dish to just cover the fish. You'll need slightly more or less oil depending on the size of your dish (use a smaller dish that just fits the fish in a single layer to minimize the amount of oil you need).
Add the thyme and garlic to the oil, tucking them under the surface, and sprinkle the salt evenly over the oil and the fish.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until just cooked through. If you're serving them right away, gently lift the filets out of the dish, transfer them to individual plates and drizzle some of the oil over each one. (You can also use the flavorful oil to dress vegetables or rice if you're serving those alongside the fish.) You can also cool the fish and refrigerate it in the oil to eat within two days -- the oil will keep the fish from drying out, and it will absorb more of the flavors from the oil as it rests.