November 22, 2017

Chef on a diet: Tilapia with vegetables Provencal

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It’s that fat time of year again and I need to start using my Chef powers for good instead of evil.

Two years ago Weight Watchers helped me lose 40 pounds.  It’s the only diet that ever worked for me and to be fair, it’s the only diet I ever really tried. My inspiration was a wonderful supportive wife and a new born son. There was a desire to be healthier and last a long long time.

Flash forward to present and I am up 13 pounds, most of my thinner summer clothes are tight, my son is filled with energy and it’s tough to keep up.  Mostly I’m really pissed off that the weight has crept back up and I have not maintained my healthy eating.  My wife hasn’t said a word.  That means she’s noticed and is waiting for me to do something about it. I hate it when she does that. Nag nag nag.

Step number one: Back on Weight watchers. Pay attention to what I eat, portion control and exercise.

Step number two: Chef it up!  Being on a diet does not mean processed diet food, fatty food envy and self flagellation.

Tonight’s Dinner: Tilapia with braised Fennel Provencal (inspired by Mark Bittman)

Tonight’s dinner will be Tilapia with a bed of braised vegetables Provencal.  This is a super healthy and flavorful dish.  It’s the lightly braised vegetables that makes this dish so darn good.

Two portions in this recipe.  Weight watchers points for each dinner is four points!

Vegetables Provencal

  • 3 fennel bulb sliced thin. Save fennel fronds for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 tablespoon capers.  Packed in salt or brine, rinsed and drained.
  • 4 anchovy fillets drained
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Place all items into large saute pan with pinch of salt and four grinds black pepper.  Turn flame to highest setting, cover and bring to boil.  Shake pan and stir vegetables.  Continue cooking uncovered till vegetables soften and liquid reduces slightly.  When all tastes good (5-7 minutes) remove vegetables to bowl leaving broth in pan.


  • 2 tilapia fillets, 6 ounces each
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen or fennel ground (oregano, dill, thyme also work well)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper

With broth in pan bring back to boil. Add fish fillets, sprinkle with salt and fennel pollen or ground fennel.  Reduce flame to simmer.  With pan covered, cook for 7 minutes or until instant-read thermometer registers 140F.  Remove fish fillets with spatula to a plate.  Return vegetables to pan to combine with remaining broth and stir over high heat to combine.

Plating:  Place half the vegetables and broth on plate.  Top with 6oz Tilapia.  Garnish with lemon wedges and fennel fronds.

  • 1/2 lemon cut into wedges.  Served on plate.
  • Reserved fennel fronds snipped and used to garnish before service.


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