Tilapia is the beige of the fish world: inoffensive and ubiquitous. It doesn’t stand a chance against, well, just about every other fish around, but it’s also incredible cheap and fairly adaptable to whatever toppings you’d like to add to it. This explains why I spent far more time worrying about what would go with the fish than I did worrying about the fish itself.
I wanted something dramatic and flavorful, which led to the idea of coating the tilapia in crushed almonds. But I always cringe before starting a recipe where I have to make sure something adheres to fish. Regardless of how careful I am, half the time the coating falls off in the pan, burning the ingredients and leaving the fish exposed. And even when I do succeed, I’ve usually made a mess of the kitchen in the process.
Instead, I took the easy way out and sprinkled on almonds at the end. That way I could focus on making sure they were properly toasted, and not on whether they were sticking to the fish or burning in the pan. This also allowed me to mix in some briny green olives with the almonds, which added even more character to the dish.
I took the easy route with the green beans, too. They’re simmered in boiling water until bright green, drained, and then immediately tossed in a tart Sherry vinaigrette. I liked the vinaigrette so much, I drizzled a bit of it over the whole finished dish.