Grilled Tilapia with Cucumber, Tomato and Dill

In an attempt to lighten up for my summer bikini body (much), I have decided to cook more fish. I’m not sure why I think I can lose weight on fish … after all three helpings of anything will eventually become a date with Jenny Craig. Still, feeling like I’m eating right is almost the same as actually doing it. And as long as I can avoid topping off my meals with ice cream or strudel, I think I’m on the right track.

Tilapia is a mild white fish. You can find lots of tilapia in Southern California, especially in Mexican and Asian Markets. If you have trouble locating it, use any mild white fish. You can also make this recipe with filets either grilled, pan fried or broiled. I like the flavor of the charred skin, though.

This is the perfect recipe for a hot summer evening. For the whole effect, use ripe tomatoes and cucumbers straight from the garden or farmers market.

This recipe calls for white pepper, which I like to use for a little added heat. If all you have is black pepper, that’s fine.
tilapia grilled


3-4 green onions, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 orange
3 cucumbers peeled, seeded and sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 TB. honey
1 TB. mustard
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
3 TB. olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
3 TB. olive oil
4 whole tilapia, cleaned and gutted


  1. Preheat grill on high, or with white-hot charcoal. In a large bowl combine green onions, orange zest and juice, cucumbers, tomatoes, honey, mustard, dill, olive oil, and yogurt. Toss together and set aside in the fridge to chill.
  2. Coat tilapia with lemon juice, salt and pepper then grill. Cook 5-10 minutes per side, until meat is firm and cooked through. Serve immediately topped with cucumber mixture.

Tilapia’s pseudonym is Saint Peter’s Fish in reference to Matthew’s story in which Peter catches a fish that carries a coin in its mouth (Matthew 17:24-27). Its dark skin spots are said to Peter’s fingerprints. Tilapia is still plentiful in the Sea of Galilee. A few years ago I wrote a book that deals with food from the Bible, and in my preparations I discovered a St. Peter’s Fish controversy. Because Matthew’s story describes Peter angling for the fish with the coin, some believe that it could not have been tilapia because a fish that swims so deep must be caught with nets. Food for thought. (ha!)

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