When I was growing up, I ate fish a few times a year, and it was always on Fridays during Lent. I remember not understanding why we had to eat fish… “but we’re just not supposed to eat meat, so can’t we just have cheese pizza or cheese enchiladas?” For some reason, no, it was a day for fish.
If we were out of town, we looked for a Long John Silver’s, or a catfish parlor. I tried lots of fish sandwiches from many fast food restaurants, and I ate lots of baked fish plates from Furr’s Cafeteria.
But sometimes, we ate fish at home. There are two main fish meals that I remember: my dad’s ceviche and my mom’s lemony baked fish with rice. I just called it Fish-Rice. I remember it seemed exotic, because it had mushrooms in it, and we never ate mushrooms. In fact, I’m not sure my mom used mushrooms in anything except this dish.
So anyway, I got some free tilapia filets at Central Market with one of their coupons, and I decided it was time to make Fish-Rice. My mom’s recipe is hand-written and wonderful; of course I made some adaptations, and I’ve included my recipe below. I love the brightness of the lemon, and the bits of celery and mushroom. I love that it’s a simple casserole with lots of flavor. I love that it reminds me of my mom. Someday soon I’ll need to get my dad’s ceviche recipe, too.
Mom’s Lemony Baked Fish with Rice
- 1 pound tilapia fillets
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- Juice and grated zest of 1 large lemon
Cook celery, onion and mushrooms in butter until softened. Toss with rice and remaining ingredients, except fish.
Coat a 9 x 12-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Lay fish fillets in one layer in the dish; top with the rice mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Makes 4 – 6 servings.
Source: my mama.