Braised Leeks with Pan-Seared Tilapia

Braised Leeks with Pan-Seared Tilapia

Braised Leeks with Pan-Seared Tilapia

½ pound leeks, root end discarded, white and light green part only, halved, cleaned very well in a large bowl of water, and drained
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc)
1 cup vegetable stock
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1½ tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
2 tablespoons roughly chop fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, optional

Season the cut side of the leeks lightly with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan (large enough to accommodate the leeks), over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon butter, and heat until the butter just begins to brown. Add the leeks, cut side down and cook, undisturbed, for 3 minutes, or until nicely caramelized. Using tongs, flip the leeks. Continue to cook until caramelized, 1 minute. Stir in the white wine and cook down for 2 minutes, then add the stock. Add the thyme and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the leeks are beginning to soften and give when pressed, approximately 15 minutes.

Squeeze in the lemon juice, and reduce the liquid until thickened to ¼ cup, approximately 15 additional minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, discard the thyme sprigs, and cover and keep warm.

Tilapia Filets:
¾ pound tilapia filets, 1 inch at the thickest point (2 fillets)
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (½ lemon)

While the leeks are braising, pat the filets dry and then season them lightly, on both sides, with salt and pepper. On a large plate, sprinkle over the flour, then dredge the fillets in the flour, patting them lightly to remove any excess.

When the braising liquid (leeks) is reduced to approximately 1 cup, combine the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan until the butter begins to brown. Carefully add the fillets, and let cook for until nicely browned, approximately three minutes. Using a wide spatula, flip the fillets, and continue to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. The fish should look opaque, and just begin to flake, but still be moist. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fillets, then serve immediately on a bed of the braised leeks (with tasty braising liquid). 

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Chef Nathan Lyon is known for his simple, innovative cuisine featuring fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. You can find him on Growing A Greener World as well as shows on Veria Living, Discovery Health, Fit TV and TLC.

His first cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, is a seasonal exploration with recipes for the five seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter and...chocolate!


  1. Tanya B says

    Made the braised leeks tonight with my own Tilapia recipe and was absolutely delicious! Only things I changed is used garlic salt instead if regular salt. Definitely a keeper. Thank you!

  2. Thea Hutchinson says

    My husband said this is the best Talapia/fish he has had. Simple, non-fussy, quick, absolutely delicious. Thank you. Didn’t have the lemon or the leeks, but the fish was delicious. Thank you.

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