Butter Fried Tilapia with Cactus Fruit Pineapple Salsa

Serves 4


1 ½ lbs tilapia cut into 4 equal portions
½ C heavy cream
1 C corn meal
2 t kosher salt, divided
½ t black pepper
½ t coriander powder
¼ C sweet white onion diced small
1 ripe cactus pear, peeled
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 C pineapple chunks, small (fresh is okay)
4 clementines, skinned, deveined & divided
4-5 large basil leaves julienned
1 t grated fresh ginger
1 T hot red chili pepper diced
1 T jalapeno diced
3 T butter, divided
2 T olive oil
(Serve with black lentils or black rice, or your choice of starch)
Black sesame seeds for garnish


  • Place the tilapia in the cream and let sit for about 15 minutes. Blend 1 t kosher salt and the pepper and coriander powder with the corn meal in another wide dish and set aside.
  • Peel and cut cactus into large junks. Place in a small food processor with 2 T lemon juice. Process until smooth. Run through a mesh strainer and push through with a spatula to make sure all juice is extracted and no pith or seeds are in the juice. Add the fresh grated ginger to the cactus juice. In a small saucepan, melt 1 T butter. Add the onion and the two peppers, and 1 t kosher salt and cook for only a minute. You don’t want the butter to brown. Add the pineapple, clementines, and stir until hot. Add the cactus juice, turn the heat to medium low and let it reduce by half. Remove and cover until served.
  • In another clean pan, add the oil to a hot pan. Dredge the cream-soaked tilapia in the corn meal and place in hot oil. Turn when the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Brown other side for 2 minutes. Turn to medium low and add t T butter. Let bubble and melt, making the edges of the fish crisp. To serve, place a serving of the salted lentils on the plate, top with the fish, and spoon a serving of the salsa over the top. Sprinkle with the basil and with the black sesame seeds. Serve!

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