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Cuban Tilapia

Way back when, when I was much younger, I would frequent a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall kind of place every Friday night (there really were holes in the wall, each with a detailed story).  This place was special.  It had extreme character and characters, beautifully colorful people and hand-painted murals of them, free flowing spirits and free spirited bar tenders, bathroom walls that told stories through their ‘underwater’ paintings, Calypso music throughout and a patio with thatched umbrella tables overlooking…..the parking lot.  And did I mention a kitchen manager that aimed to please.  Oh yes, the later in the evening you hung in….the more creative he became.  And that is where this Cuban Tilapia recipe was born.  One LATE Friday night….many years ago.

Seafood was their specialty, and they practically shouted it at passers-by with their ocean blue building painted with giant tropical fish.

Cuban Tilapia

I love this dish.  As I recall, it wasn’t on the menu, but instead born out of the freshest ingredients in the kitchen.  Lots of layers of individual goodness that when brought together makes you close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and say oh my yum!

Here is the recipe part of this post:  Lightly seasoned white rice, perfectly cooked black beans with onion & jalapeno, spicy pan sauteed tilapia, diced fresh tomato, a squeeze of lime juice, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.  In the spirit of Third Coast Grille, no measuring, no boundaries….just lots of colors and characters.

Cuban Tilapia

Sadly, Third Coast is no more.  The abandoned original building still remains.  How we’d love to see it brought back to life….it was so up our alley.  Oh, and let’s not forget the popcorn, that exploded continuously in the background accompanying the sound of steel drums.  Any time you bellied up to the bar you were served up a bowl of hot & spicy & oh so buttery fresh popcorn….which on occasion was dinner.

Cuban Tilapia

Recipe Note:  we present you with the first tomatoes from our own porch gardens that even resemble the wonderful flavors of the heirloom varieties we’ve been spoiled with all summer.  Yay Us!  And, to bring the black beans and the tilapia to life, we seasoned with toasted cumin seeds, ground and sprinkled liberally.

Toasted Cumin

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