Get Baked: One Fish Two Fish

Fish and greens, my friend. Fish. And. Greens. You can’t really go wrong with this combination; it’s really basic, really easy and super nutritious.  Don’t be afraid of working with fish—it’s a bit delicate, but it’s forgiving. I’ve been on a bit of a fish kick lately and make Riese eat one of these dishes at least once a week, and let me tell you, she is not the least bit tired of either of them not one bit nosirree.

I most definitely recommend using fresh fish over frozen, but I live on the west coast and am spoiled. If it’s not easy or affordable for you to buy fresh, you can also use frozen; just thaw well in advance and do your best to get the excess moisture out before cooking.

Tilapia with Sauteed Kale and Lemon Butter Sauce

tilapia ingredients


(Serves 2)

2 bunches of kale, washed, stems removed, chopped or torn into largish pieces (this seems like so much kale but relax)

2 tilapia filets (or any white fish)

2 shallots

4-5 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of vegetable broth

3-4 tablespoons of butter

A lemon (seedless if you can, those things are a pain)

White wine

Salt and pepper


Pour a couple glugs of olive oil into your biggest pan and heat it to medium-low (my burners get freakishly hot so I have to err on the lower heat side; if medium-low is really not very hot for you then go with medium heat). Thinly slice one shallot and 3-4 cloves of garlic and gently fry them in the oil for a minute or two until the shallots start to get translucent — try not to let it brown but if it does it’s not the end of the world. Throw in the kale in bunches and toss it around in the oil so that it all gets coated and starts to wilt. Add more kale as you go. Season with salt and pepper and keep tossing it for a few minutes. Pro tip: salt food from high above so that you get an even salt distribution (it doesn’t matter so much in this particular situation but I’m talking in general). I like to use kosher salt in cooking because it’s not as salty and I like pinching it and sprinkling it from above; it makes me feel fancy.

Once all your kale is in and you’ve got a little more space, pour in a few splashes of white wine and stir it around. Let that mostly evaporate and then add the vegetable broth. Turn the heat down to low/simmer, stir it all around and let it cook for a little while like that, stirring occasionally. Add salt/pepper to taste as you go. Total time from this point will be anywhere from 10-15 minutes. I try not to let it get too weird and brown but it’ll taste good no matter what. At some point during this process, squeeze lemon juice over it and stir it around again.

kale kollage

Once you’ve got the kale on to cook, get your fish out. Pat the filets dry with paper towel to absorb any excess moisture and season them on both sides with salt and ground pepper. Pour some oil into a pan and heat it on medium-to-medium-high. Once the oil is glistening, put your fish in; give it 3-4 minutes on the first side then flip it. When it’s been on the second side for a minute or two, splash some white wine in the pan and let it absorb into the fish.

In a small pan, heat a little bit of butter on medium and then throw in the remaining clove of garlic, minced, and about 2 tbsp of finely diced shallot. Let that sizzle gently for a minute or so (again, don’t brown it), then splash in about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of white wine (just eyeball it it’s fine). Let the wine reduce by about half and then add your 3-4 tbsp of butter, stir it around until it melts, then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Turn the heat down a little and let that reduce a little more. Taste it, it’ll be stupid good, add salt if you want.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, make a small pile of kale in the center of a plate. Place one piece of fish on top and drizzle with sauce.


tilapia serving

Pan-seared Salmon with Teriyaki Glaze

My original source for this recipe was this guy, who can seemingly afford way more salmon than your average mortal, which is cool for him. This recipe is so delicious that I make it at least once a week, and the glaze is multipurpose and equally fantastic in vegetarian contexts.

While the ingredients list might give you pause if you don’t already have most of these things in your kitchen, these are all good investments and after you make this once you’ll most definitely make it again, meaning you’ll make use of that mirin in good time, friend.

I’ve made this with a variety of cuts of salmon, but the best by far for pan-searing is a nice thick center cut filet, so make this on a night that you’ve got the coin and are able to buy a nice piece of fish.

salmon ingredients



(Serves 2, with leftover glaze)

6-oz salmon filets, pin boned

Oil (grapeseed or canola or whatever, honestly)

Salt and pepper


1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin

1/4 cup sake

1/4 cup brown sugar

3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced


Start with the glaze: peel and slice your ginger and garlic and throw them in a medium-sized pan. Add the sugar, soy sauce, sake and mirin and turn the heat to medium. Whisk it around a little to help dissolve the sugar as it heats. Once it starts to foam and bubble turn the heat to low and let it simmer. I like to periodically crush the ginger bits with the end of my whisk. Let it reduce until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes.


You can actually let it thicken even more than this

Meanwhile, take your fish out of the fridge and press it on all sides with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Season both sides with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Cover the bottom of a cast-iron pan with oil and turn the heat to medium-high. I use grapeseed oil for its high smoking temperature but just about any oil will do.

On oil: people tend to be scared of using too much oil, but it’s better to have too much than too little. The food won’t actually absorb more oil just because you’ve used more, but too little oil can mean poor results. You can always pour off what you don’t use or use it again!

Once the oil starts to shimmer (but not smoke), add the fish flesh side down and don’t move it for at least 3-4 minutes.  Monitor the heat and turn it down if it starts smoking. Once you have a nice sear the fish will release from the pan’s surface on its own. Flip it over and continue to cook on the skin side for 2-3 minutes or until cooked to your liking. If possible, move it to a different part of the pan when you flip it because it will be hotter there than where the fish was just sitting.

fish in pan

Once the glaze has reached the desired consistency, strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing against the garlic and ginger bits. Transfer the fish to plates and finish with a few spoonfuls of the glaze.

I like to serve this with a bare-bones salad of mixed greens with finely chopped green onion and toasted sesame seeds, dressed to your liking. Tonight I was lazy and used a store-bought dressing (this one), but it’s also quick and easy to make your own dressing at home, like this ginger-miso dressing. Enjoy!

salmon serving

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    no but for real i am so excited to make both of these dishes so so soon.

  2. I’m definitely going to have to try this. I live by a massive port but have been afraid to buy anything because I didn’t know how to cook it. Thanks, Marni!

  3. that looks so yummy I almost always sear salmon in a mustard lemon glaze stuff because I love mustard but I am going to try this when I’m less drunk

    also salmon is so delicious right? I love fish generally though, but I’m not generally a strong advocate of vegetables I am more of a supporter of chocolate and beer

  4. From the pictures, it looks like step one to these recipes is “be ridiculously good-looking.”

    now that that’s said, let’s talk about that glaze, because it sounds amaaaaazing. We had salmon with maple ginger glaze for Christmas Eve dinner. The salmon was incredibly expensive but I regret nothing.

  5. I just made salmon last night! It was lazy, so I just seasoned it with salt and added lemon juice. I generally don’t like fish, but I make an exception for salmon.

  6. One good thing about living in Alaska, All the fresh Salmon, Halibut and Cod you can eat. Wonderful recipes! I’m making that Teriyaki Salmon for dinner!

  7. This is making me want tilapia. And salmon, but tilapia is more affordable currently.

    Also, I did not know that salting from afar tip, and it sounds like a good one.

    And the bottom salmon picture is *gorgeous*

  8. I had salmon at Christmas and I was sort of jealous of my sister being married and having a husband who can cook fish, but apparently like changing tires, repairing clogged sinks, and playing Madden I could probably try this and do it better than the boys. This is perfect!!

  9. Fish! I had baked salmon and mustard greens for dinner last night. Both of these sound like great recipes, I’ll have to give them a try.

    In case anyone hasn’t found it: to help with buying environmentally sustainable fish, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch keeps a list of best choices, good alternatives, and types to avoid. They have both a downloadable wallet-sized version and an app.

    There are local guides, but if you scroll down there is also a national guide which is very useful if you’re buying frozen fish from a big chain like Costco or Target.

    • How do you get such an awesome job!

      (and again, really thrilled to see my favorite food, mussels, are not something I have to avoid for the sake of sustainability)

  10. I made the salmon with teriyaki glaze last night and it was totally delicious, i’ll probably make it every night this week.

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