Orange-Scented Tilapia with Capers and Roasted Peppers

Pan sauces and risotto make me antsy. Why? Well, they use wine, in small amounts, and I find it really hard to justify opening a bottle of wine for just a few tablespoons. I know there are are easy and practical solutions to this. For example, I could just buy those little 4-packs of single serving wines – too bad my favorites will never be packaged that way. I could freeze the rest of the wine in an ice cube tray to have handy for other recipes – but get this, I don’t have an ice cube tray, and I don’t feel like adding another item to my jam-packed freezers. (Yes, freezers.) And finally, I could just drink the wine. But, I have a few rules around maintaining my healthy lifestyle and one of them is that I very rarely drink alcohol during the week. So as you can imagine, when I entertain the idea of making something with wine, there’s a lot of back-and-forth-and-mulling-over going on in my head.

Sometimes I share these thoughts with others, like my friend Elly. As in, “Elly, I have this really good idea about making tilapia in an orange-caper-and-roasted-pepper pan sauce, but I don’t feel like opening wine on a Monday night just for that. bahhh.“. That’s when Elly reminded me (as she had before, but I forgot) that should really invest in a bottle of vermouth. She claims it’s a fine substitute for white wine in most recipes – and in fact, she even likes it a bit better. But the real great thing is that it won’t spoil like wine, so you can keep it around to use for a very long time. Like, maybe even forever. See, everyone should have an Elly in their life – she is so smart!

So before I could forget, I dashed out on my lunch break to get some vermouth. I even discovered another perk – it didn’t require much of an investment at all; a normal sized bottle is around the same as a cheap bottle of wine.

As promised, the vermouth delivered, and enabled me to come up with a zesty new pan sauce for tilapia. This dish is easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner, and maybe even elegant enough for guests. I enjoyed with some simple lentils braised with onions and spinach.

Orange-Scented Tilapia with Roasted Peppers and Capers
Printable Recipe 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 tilapia filets, about 2 1/2 oz each
1 medium orange
freshly ground salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 oz dry vermouth
4 oz roasted red peppers, sliced
1 tablespoon capers

Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet large enough to hold both pieces of fish.

Zest and juice the orange and combine the zest with the Italian seasoning in a small dish. Set the juice aside.

Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper, then rub all over with the combined zest and Italian seasoning. Add the fish filets to the skillet, and cook for about 5-8 minutes, turning halfway through, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove the fish from the pan onto a plate, and tent with foil to keep warm.

To the same skillet, add the olive oil and garlic. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the pan. Cook the garlic for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the reserved orange juice and the vermouth to the skillet, and increase heat to high. Add the roasted peppers and capers, and cook for a few minutes or until liquid is reduced by about 2/3. Spoon the pan sauce with the capers and peppers over the fish to serve.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 259.1
Total Fat: 9.1 g
Cholesterol: 56.3 mg
Sodium: 267.7 mg
Total Carbs: 6.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 26.6 g
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10 Responses to “Orange-Scented Tilapia with Capers and Roasted Peppers”

  1. 1

    HKSew27 — February 15, 2010 @ 2:10 pm Reply

    This looks so gorgeous and yummy — hard to believe that it doesn't take ages to prepare — did you say "quick dinner" ? Ben is a lucky guy !

  2. 2

    ellysaysopa — February 15, 2010 @ 7:17 pm Reply

    That is one gorgeous plate! Even though I am not the world's biggest fish fan, I would definitely eat this happily. Mmm.

  3. 3

    talat — February 16, 2010 @ 1:07 am Reply

    I love the way you flavor the fish with Mediterranean ingredients. Tilapia can be very bland. This fish recipe is a keeper!Jackie at

  4. 4

    Dawn — February 16, 2010 @ 2:39 pm Reply

    Very nice. I love the color. And I also love a good tilapia recipe!

  5. 5

    Shannon - — February 16, 2010 @ 4:36 pm Reply

    this look fantastic! thank you for sharing! and I'm going to give your black bean brownies a try. I recently had a bad experience making them, but I'll try anything twice — here's hoping they turn out good! ;)

  6. 6

    Elina — February 16, 2010 @ 8:24 pm Reply

    I always have the same dilemma. I had no idea that vermouth would be a good sub. Thanks for sharing :)The fish recipe looks amazing as well 😀

  7. 7

    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — February 16, 2010 @ 9:03 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for stopping by FFC today!I do not drink wine or any alcohol, but I love it added to recipes like your Tilapia. Thanks so much for the Vermouth tip (and thanks to your friend Elly!) now I know I can keep this in the house with out buying wine that will get tossed out.

  8. 8

    *Naomi* — February 17, 2010 @ 3:33 pm Reply

    i LOVE tilapia! it is fresh and flaky and light and this meal looks so good! I love that it is a thinner fish so it doesnt take a while to prepare :)well done!!

  9. 9

    preventionrd — February 17, 2010 @ 7:02 pm Reply

    Orange, capers, fish…yummM! I love that combination of bold flavors! It's hard to find a compliment for capers, but I think oranges would do the trick really nicely!

  10. 10

    Kevin — February 21, 2010 @ 2:56 pm Reply

    That's a tasty way to enjoy some fish!

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