Tilapia with Curry Butter & Mango Salsa

This dish is perfect for entertaining. I like to serve Chilled Black Bean Soup with Avocado  as a first course, and since it tastes even better the second day, you can pace yourself and make it a day ahead of your dinner party.

If you don’t feel like making the curry butter — aka compound butter — in chef talk, you don’t have to. The fish will still taste great accompanied by the salsa. Not to guilt you, but it’s really easy to make the curry butter, and you will score major brownie points with your guests, and the leftover butter is really great tossed into your leftover Island Rice & Beans.

I recognize you’re novice cooks, and don’t want to overwhelm you, but you have time (think a little more than an hour) to make the fish, and the Island Rice & Beans.

Since I figure a lot of you novice cooks might be living in an apartment, without access to a grill, I’ve reformatted this recipe to cook on top of the stove. I personally love Bluefish filets, but I know they’re a little strong for some palates, which is why you can use tilapia, red snapper,  or perch — any fish filet that’s petite and relatively thin. If your filet has skin, that’s okay, except it probably won’t get crispy like the fish in my Mixed Green Salad with Crispy Salmon.

If you want to grill swordfish, brush the fish with olive oil and grill over medium heat, turning once, for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Top with the curried butter and serve with the salsa.


Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (you need the butter to be soft so it will mix easily)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 tilapia (1 to 1/4 lbs), or bluefish, perch, or red snapper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

1.In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, curry powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

2.Using a zester, grate about 1/4 of the lemon directly over the mixing bowl. As soon as the lemon loses its yellow color, move the zester. You don’t want to eat the white part of the peel, aka pith, because it’s bitter.

3.Heat the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Test to see if the oil is hot enough by sprinkling a few drops of water, standing back from the skillet so you don’t get splattered. If it sizzles, you’re good to go!

4.Liberally season the fish filets with salt and pepper. Place them in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. You will see the fish become opaque as it cooks.

5.Flip the fish gently with a spatula and cook for another 3 minutes.

6.Remove the fish to a serving platter and top each filet with some of the curry butter.

7.Serve with Mango Salsa and Island Rice and Beans.

Grocery Bag: Tilapia With Curry Butter & Mango Salsa