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Pan-fried Tilapia with Grapefuit and Shaved Leeks

I bought a grapefruit a few days ago. Not sure exactly why. I don’t think I’ve ever actually purchased a grapefruit before and the last time I remember tasting one, it certainly wasn’t high on my list of favorite citrus fruits. It may have been seeing Natalie Portman sit down to enjoy a particularly pink grapefruit during an early scene in Black Swan. Perhaps if I eat a grapefruit, I will instantly transform into a lean and graceful prima ballerina too??

I’m starting to see the significance of subtle advertisements placed throughout movies and television shows. I suspect that Sunkist had a sneaky hand in this.

So, I’ve had this grapefruit sitting on my counter for a few days. I think I imagined that I was going to crack it open at breakfast one morning and dive in with a spoon, perhaps with a poached egg on the side, ballerina style. But, morning after morning, I glanced at that grapefruit and then reached for my Frosted Mini Wheats instead. Ultimately, I figured I should do something with the large, lonely citrus. After rooting through the freezer and locating a few frozen Tilapia fillets, I developed a plan.

I’d combine the sweet and bitter grapefruit segments with thinly sliced, mild-tasting leeks in a Honey-Dijon vinaigrette and serve over a simple pan-fried Tilapia fillet. A mound of quick-cooking cous cous completes the meal. You can thinly slice the leeks using a sharp knife or shave them with a mandoline. This recipe can easily be adapted for other types of fish or seafood. Simply adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of your fish.

Somehow, the combination of flavors, textures and temperatures in this dish managed to magically transform the grapefruit into a very welcome guest on my plate. Still not sure I’d ever enjoy sitting down for breakfast with half a grapefruit and a spoon. But I’d definitely invite a grapefruit to this dish again. Heck, I was never cut out to be a ballerina anyway!

Pan-fried Tilapia with a Melange of Grapefruit and Shaved Leeks


For the Fish:

  • 4 Tilapia Fillets
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • Olive Oil

For the Grapefruit and Leek Melange

  • 1 large Grapefruit, segmented*
  • 1 Leek, halved and thinly sliced or shaved**
  • 1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper

To Serve

  • 2 cups plain Cous Cous, prepared according to package directions in lightly salted water

* Click here to see my photo guide on How to Supreme a Citrus Fruit.

**Click here to see my photo guide on How to Clean and Slice Leeks.


To prepare the melange, cut each grapefruit segment into thirds. Combine with the shaved or thinly sliced leeks. Prepare the dressing by combining the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and whisking until well-blended. Pour a couple tablespoons of the dressing over the grapefruit and leeks. Set aside. Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for the cous cous.

For the fish, season each fillet with salt and pepper. Then, lightly coat each fillet with flour. Heat a thin, even layer of olive oil in a large fry pan over medium heat. Get it good and hot. Place the fillets into the hot oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and fully cooked.

To serve, toss the prepared cous cous in a little of the reserved vinaigrette. Place a cooked fillet on top of a mound of cous cous and top with the melange of grapefruit and leeks.

Serves 4


3 responses »

  1. Oh wow that looks really good, I would never have even thought of putting grapefruit with tilapia before…I bet it is good though!

  2. I am thrilled you decided to buy a grapefruit! Fantastic recipe!
    🙂 Mandy

  3. I love grapefruit for breakfast. I like it plain, but most people I know either put salt (guess it tames the bitterness?) or sugar (tones down the tartness) on it. My problem is that we buy them and they seem to go bad really quickly. I think it has more to do with where we buy them than anything – some stores just don’t get good produce.


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The Gourmand Mom

Good food, seasoned with a dash of life

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