Made-from-scratch seafood meals don’t have to break the bank. Tilapia can be a great source of protein, and even non fish-lovers will enjoy its mild taste and delicate texture.
As stated before, it is very important to find balance in our diets when it comes to seafood. I prefer mostly wild fish and shrimp as a result of growing up in Florida and being raised eating fish we caught right offshore. As an adult, I am constantly challenging myself to eat more farmed seafood – and to feed it to my family. Every serving of farmed fish we eat saves one serving of wild fish. We believe that, as long as you choose the source wisely, farmed seafood is a wonderful thing. Ask where it comes from and educate yourself.
To start, I made the pita dough. This really could not be easier and it adds SUCH a nice touch to this meal.
Homemade Pita Bread
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Start off by sprinkling the package of yeast over the warm water. Let it stand for about 5 minutes. It will become a little foamy. Mix in the salt and olive oil. Add the flour and stir. This dough is meant to be slightly sticky, so don’t worry if it is. Knead it for around 5 minutes or until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. It will need to rise for around an hour. It will double in size.
While the pita dough is rising, go ahead and tackle the Lemon-Feta spread. This is a really simple concept… equal parts cream cheese and feta cheese. The rest is up to you and your taste buds. Throw everything in the food processor or blender and voila! This spread is not only delicious in this particular dish, but also on plain pita and pita chips and sandwiches… you name it! Mine was very heavy on the garlic because we like it that way. Feel free to adjust the seasonings, just don’t add salt because the Feta has plenty.
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 4 ounces Feta cheese
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of rosemary
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
My dough was still rising, so I went ahead and marinated my fish. Tilapia can be a little boring to me, so I like to really jazz it up. I was going for a Greek theme, so I went with Greek seasoning and lots of fresh herbs. I cut each fillet into two lobes by cutting it along the bloodline. This made it easier to manage while cooking and the perfect size and shape to fit in the pita bread.
I tossed the fillets in freshly cut lemons, lemon juice, olive oil, Greek seasoning, and fresh thyme. The fish sat in this mixture until I finished the pita. It isn’t a good idea to leave it for more than 30-45 minutes because of the lemon juice; it will start to break down the fish.
Back to the pita bread… Once it has doubled in size, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball and roll it out into a disc. It should be very thin and maybe about the size of a pancake or a crepe. As I rolled them out, I put foil between each one to keep them from sticking to each other or drying out. If you need additional flour to roll them out, use it sparingly.
Drizzle some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat (you only need a little bit). Put one pita disc in the pan. As soon as it starts bubbling (almost right away), flip it. Cook it for about 30 – 60 seconds on this side, then repeat on the other side. The entire surface should be puffed up when it is done and it will have golden spots on it. YUM! Keep the finished pita covered with foil or a clean towel as you work.
Time to cook the fish! I used a grill pan over high heat with a little bit of olive oil, but not too much because my pan was non-stick and there was olive oil in the marinade. Cook the fish for a minute or two on each side or until it is firm to the touch and cooked all the way through.
Assemble by layering pita bread, lemon-feta spread, and fish. Top it off with whatever you want… lettuce, tomato, onion, etc!
The pita bread was warm and perfectly flexible… it folded without cracking. The chewy texture is just amazing. The Lemon-Feta spread wakes everything up. This was a hit amongst the kids AND the adults. The possibilities with this are pretty much endless. You can fill your pita with shrimp, chicken, steak, seafood… YUM! (After you clean your plate, you will enjoy finding fun ways to finish off the rest of that Lemon-Feta spread.)