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Pan Seared Tilapia in Saffron Sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 large tilapia fillets
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • Fresh cilantro


  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic on a cutting board. On a clean cutting board, lay out the tilapia fillets and dab them dry with a paper towel before sprinkling with salt, black pepper, and paprika. Turn the fish over and repeat with the other side.
  2. In a small saucepan add in the stock, wine, saffron, and thyme and bring them just to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low to let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and let them cook 2 minutes. Add the tilapia fillets to the pan and let them cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are firm to the touch and can easily flake with a fork. Transfer the cooked fish to a plate and cover.
  4. Pour the warm stock and wine mixture into the pan and deglaze the pan by gently stirring and scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to remove any crispy pieces. Remove the thyme from the pan and discard.
  5. Bring the liquid to a boil in the pan and allow it to continue to boil until the liquid has reduced by about half way. Turn down the heat to low and stir in the cream. Let it cook another 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, in order to let it thicken.
  6. Transfer the tilapia back into the sauce and let them cook 2-3 minutes to reheat the fish.
  7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and add the cilantro to the pan. Serve immediately.