Tilapia with Tomato-Onion Compote & Tomato Coulis and More

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Note: This entry won 3rd place in Iron Chef SA 002:Battle Tomato

The full menu consists of: Sauteed Tilapia with Tomato-Onion Compote and Tomato Coulis Mushroom-stuffed Baked Tomatoes Caprese Salad

This is going to be a long thread, so I'm posting the final results here at the top with the step-by-step directions below, seperated into each recipe.


Doesn't that look good? Vote for me, then come back and follow along.

Mushroom-stuffed Baked Tomatoes



  • 2 ripe, unblemished tomatoes
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1/2 lb. Mushrooms
  • Fresh Basil
  • Parmagianno-Regiano Cheese
  • Dried (or fresh) Oregeno
  • 1 Cup Chicken Stock
  • Virgin Olive Oil


1. First, preheat your oven to 350F. Now, cut a 1/2" slice off the top of each tomato. Keep the tops!


2. Using a spoon, scoop the tomato insides into a bowl, making sure to leave the tomato intact.


3. Roughly chop a few leaves of basil and toss into the tomato bowl. Set aside.


4. Finely chop all your mushrooms, garlic and shallots as well as a few more basil leaves. Mise en place!


5. Now to the cooking: First, pour a cup of Chicken Stock into a saucepan, place over high heat and boil the shit out of it, we're going to reduce it down to 1/4 cup. Once that's going, pour a couple tablespoons of oil into a skillet or saute pan, set heat to medium, and add your mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and basil. We're going to keep it over heat until the mushrooms have released their moisture, then continue to cook until the moisture has cooked off. Here's a picture before they've released water and after. All the liquid in the second picture came from INSIDE THE MUSHROOMS! :science:


6. Once the Chicken Stock has reduced by a fourth and is nice and thick, add the tomato/basil and keep over heat until the tomatoes have thickened, almost to a puree.


7. By now, all the moisture released by your mushrooms should have cooked off and you'll have a more or less dry pan, like this:


8. Now we strain the Chicken Stock/Tomato mixture through a fine sieve, into the mushroom pan.


9. Add a pinch of Oregeno, some grated Parmesean (to taste), a couple grinds of black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and it should look like this:


10. Now grab your hollow tomatoes and sprinkle a generous pinch of kosher salt into them. Using a spoon, stuff them with the mushroom mixture. Once full, grate a bit more parmesean on top.


11. Brush the tomatoes (and tops) with Olive Oil, put the tops back on, and place in a baking dish.

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12. Bake on middle rack of oven until the skin just begins to blister, about 15-20 minutes.


Allright, that was fun, now lets make the tomator coulis which will go on our finished fish. This one's easy and fairly labor unintensive.

Tomato Coulis



  • 4 Medium Tomatoes
  • Best Extra-Virgin Olive Oil you have (I picked that bottle up in Tuscany last year)
  • 1 Tbsp. Cold Butter
  • Cayenne, Salt, Pepper


1. Core and coarsley chop your tomatoes.


2. Toss tomatoes in a pot, cover, and place over medium heat until very juicy (about 15-20 mins).


3. Drain in a sieve (don't worry about keeping the juice unless you want to use it in another recipe).


4. Place tomatoes in a saucepan over medium-low heat and allow then to thicken up a bit (shouldn't take long at all).


5. Add 1 Tbsp. cold butter to tomatoes and allow to melt completely, stirring to combine. When butter is fully incorporated, slowly drizzle a stream of EVOO in. The butter and oil are what make it so velvety smooth in your mouth. Add a couple grinds black pepper, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cayenne to taste.


You can set this aside, just heat it back up over low heat before serving, possibly adding a bit more Oil or Butter if it seems to dry out any.

Coulis' all done, now to the main course!

Sauteed Tilapia with Tomato-Onion Compote



  • 3-4 Tilapia Filets (Snapper, Sea Bass, Catfish, etc. would work fine)
  • 4 Med. Tomatoes
  • 1 Large White Onion (I photographed 2, but 1 is plenty)
  • Dried or Fresh Tarragon
  • Balsamic or Sherry Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper


1. We're going to make the compote first, as the fish is quick and easy. Preheat oven to 350F. Core (cut plug around stem and pop out) and halve tomatoes crosswise.


2. Slice your onion as thinly as possible.


3. Pour a couple teaspoons of oil into a skillet, add the onions, and turn the heat to low. You want the heat very low as we're not trying to fry them, just carmelize the shit out of them. Keep them over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are very tender and very sweet. If they stick to the pan, add a tablespoon or two of water to loosen the sugars. This is going to take a good half-hour or more.


4. Meanwhile, place the tomatoes cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place on the top rack of your oven (preheated to 350F).


5. Roast the tomatoes for about 20 minutes, until the skins have blistered but not blackened. Remove from oven.


6. Let the tomatoes cool enough to handle, but not completely cooled. It should be very easy to peel the skin off the tomatoes (discard skins).

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7. Grab the tomatoes and gently squeeze, the seeds should all fall out quite easily.


8. By now, your onions should be nice and carmelized. Add the seeded tomatoes to the onions, pour in a drizzle of vinegar and a pinch of salt, and increase heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally and allow the tomatoes to break up. Add a pinch of tarragon, a couple grinds black pepper, and salt to taste. Keep warm over low heat.


9. Now let's sautee some fish. Mmmm, Tilapia filets; can't beat ~$3/pound. Make sure you pat them dry with paper towels before you do anything else.


10. Dump some flour on a plate, add some salt & pepper or whatever seasongs you like (Old Bay or Lemon Pepper would be good). Lightly dredge the fish in the flour, shaking off all the excess. You don't want much flour on there at all, just enough to help it brown, not a batter.


11. Toss some Olive Oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the fish and saute for 3-4 minutes.


12. When one side is browned, flip and saute for another 2-3 minutes.



Now all we have to do is assemble the plates. Put a stuffed tomato on a plate along with some of the tomato-onion compote.


Lay the fish over the compote and garnish with remaining basil leaves.


Now just spoon some of the coulis over the top of the fish and you're all set.

I also threw together a Caprese Salad using Prusciutto-wrapped Mozzarella alternated with tomato slices in a stack with sea salt, 80-year-old Balsamic, and a chiffonade of Basil.


The finished product:

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I'm eatin' the shit outta that motherfucker!