I tend to get my culinary resourcefulness from what surrounds me, so I like to keep my kitchen full of diverse and inspirational ingredients. When I begin a cooking endeavor, I get out everything I feel might pique my creativity and sort through the combinations until I get a flash of genius. I must say, I am proud of this recipe.
Tilapia has a mild, almost sweet flavour and a delicate texture. It is like a slightly fishy canvas that absorbs whatever you put on it. Pomegranate molasses is the base of the marinade for the tilapia and it adds so much to the complexity of the dish. Fennel and kielbasa add the right combination of crisp and meat to make the perfect salsa atop a bitable taco.
Pomegranate molasses is one of those miracle condiments that compliments everything. It is made by boiling pomegranate juice into a thick, sweet reduction and retains its tart qualities as well. Dark and almost black with a reddish hue, pomegranate molasses hails from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is typically used in marinades for fish and meat, included in sauces and used as syrup for drinks and desserts.
I came across a bottle of it when I visited one of my best friends in Toronto last summer. We entered a well-known Middle Eastern establishment in Kensington Market that sells falafel, Turkish delights and various Mediterranean staples. I was instantly intoxicated by the place. While browsing the shelves, I zeroed in on the bottles of pomegranate molasses and asked what it was used for. The vendor said “all the things”. I’ve been using it ever since. I doubt it is available at any supermarket around where I live now, but can certainly be found online. I think next time; I will try making it myself.
For the fish:
For the salsa:
bulb of fresh, thinly sliced and roughly chopped fennel
Clean and prepare the filets. Place them in a baking pan and sprinkle sea salt all around them. Spoon a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses down the middle of each filet and drizzle olive oil on each. Set aside to marinade.
Start preparing your ingredients for the salsa. Preheat oven at 400ºF/200ºC/Gas mark 6.
On medium heat, brown the onion and garlic on the stovetop in some cooking oil. Stir intermittently.
Add the fennel. Cook until soft then add the bell pepper and kielbasa. Sprinkle salt to taste. After 3-4 more minutes, remove from heat.
Lay the salsa abed the tilapia. The filets should be buried underneath the colourful spread. Squeeze the lemon on top the contents.
Place the pan into a fully heated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove when the tilapia is opaque. Do not overcook or fish will lose its tenderness and be rubbery.
Heat corn tortillas in a clean stovetop pan. Each side should have pleasing burn marks and some bubbling.
On each tortilla, break-up a fork full of tilapia and scoop some of the salsa and its juice.
Top with goat chevre or greek yogurt and chopped cilantro. Dip in your favourite hot sauce.
Devour. Savour. Enjoy the complexities delicacies of flavour and be astonished by what you just made.