Hello and welcome to Sunday Supper! Today’s recipe ticks all the boxes in terms of flavor; it’s super easy and quick to prepare, too. Coconut Braised Collards with Butter Baked Tilapia is a well-rounded meal (hello nutrient-rich collard greens!); richly flavored with smooth coconut milk, the tender braised collard greens are a perfect match for the buttery, savory flavor of the herbed, spiced Tilapia. Let’s get right to it!
You can use your favorite fish for this; look for thin fillets of fish that are fresh and moist-looking, dryness indicates that the fish is not fresh. I wanted to go with a mild-flavored white fish, and the Tilapia was my best option at the fish counter. We will make a little spice mix of dried oregano and thyme with smoked paprika. Then we have fresh garlic, butter, with lemon zest and juice.
So let’s start with prepping the fish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow baking dish, lightly oil both sides of the fillets with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with Kosher salt and pepper. Then sprinkle both sides with the spice mix. Set the fish aside and we will make the butter braise.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. To the melted butter, grate the lemon zest directly into the saucepan. Then grate the garlic directly into the saucepan. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the saucepan. Give it all a good stir to incorporate.
Then pour the melted butter mixture over the fish fillets in the baking dish.
Set the fish aside for a few minutes while we prep the collard greens.
Trim the bottom stems off the collards and remove any wilted or brown parts of the leaves. Rinse the collard leaves in water and lay the bunch with the long side facing you. Slice the bunch vertically into 1-inch wide strips.
Then turn the bunch 90 degrees and slice the strips into roughly 1 to 2-inch pieces. Toss the cut pieces into a colander or salad spinner and give them another wash. Spin them to remove excess water or pat the pieces dry with a towel.
Thinly slice 2-3 scallions. Otherwise we have 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
In a large skillet or braiser, melt the butter over medium heat and add the coconut oil. Then sauté the scallions until they are lightly softened.
Put the baking dish of fish on the center rack in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.
When the scallions are softened, add the cut collard greens to the skillet and toss to coat the collards in the butter and coconut oil. Let them cook until they turn bright green (about 1-2 minutes), then add the coconut milk and the soy sauce.
Stir to coat the collards in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to keep at a low simmer. Stir occasionally and braise for 10 minutes.
At the 10 minute mark, check the fish. Press on the center, or the thickest part of a fish fillet – if it is still very soft, let the fish cook another 3-5 minutes. The fish is done when it’s slightly firm to the touch. My tilapia fillets went for 15 minutes. When you pull the fish from the oven, turn off the braising collards.
When the fish comes out, feel free to baste the fish with the butter braise.
Plate It Up!
This is a perfect recipe for two. Use kitchen tongs to divide the greens amongst two shallow bowls or rimmed dinner plates. Top the greens with flaky finishing salt if desired. Then use a fish turner to lay each fillet on top of the greens.
The collard greens are tender and so richly flavored with the coconut milk; and that little bit of soy sauce does just enough to perk it up. The greens are silky and the coconut flavor is a beautiful match with the bitterness of the collards. Then you have the mild Tilapia which is salty and savory, with just a little smokiness from the paprika; and the pop of lemon juice and zest add just enough acid to balance everything together.
Thank you all so much for spending some of your Sunday with me. Do make this Coconut Braised Collards with Butter Baked Tilapia. It’s a perfect combination, but also – each component is great with other mains and sides. Let me know how it works out for you! You can visit the Sunday Supper tab on Djalali Cooks, in the main menu (under SERIES), to revisit all of the Sunday Supper recipes. And don’t forget, you can follow me over on Pinterest – a great place to see all the Djalali Cooks recipe pins in one spot!
Kitchenware Used in This Recipe
Coconut Braised Collards with Butter Baked Tilapia
Coconut Braised Collards with Butter Baked Tilapia is a well-rounded meal; tender, braised collard greens are a perfect match for savory Tilapia.
- Butter Baked Tilapia
- 2 Tilapia Fillets
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
- 1/2 tsp. Died Oregano
- 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 4 cloves Garlic, grated
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of half a Lemon
- Coconut Braised Collard Greens
- 1 Bunch Collard Greens (1.5 to 2 pounds), stems and leaves sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 1 tbsp. Coconut Oil
- 2-3 Scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 13.66-oz. Can Unsweetened Coconut Milk
- 1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
- Flaky Finishing Salt, if desired
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix the dried oregano, smoked paprika and dried thyme, mix to combine and set aside.
Place fish fillets in a baking dish and lightly oil both sides with olive oil.
Sprinkle Kosher salt and fresh black pepper on both sides of the fillets.
Sprinkle the spice mix on both sides of the fish fillets. Set baking dish aside.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Grate garlic and lemon zest directly into the melted butter. Squeeze juice of half a lemon into the melted butter, swirl to combine and pour the butter mixture over the fish fillets. Set the fish aside.
In a large skillet or braiser, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the coconut oil.
Sauté the sliced scallions in the oil and butter until slightly softened.
Put the fish fillets in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Add the cut collards to the skillet with the scallions. Toss to coat the greens in the oil and butter and cook just until the collards turn bright green.
When the collards are bright green, add the coconut milk and the soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally and let simmer while the fish cooks.
At the 10 minute mark, check the doneness of the fish by pressing on the center, or the thickest part of a fish fillet – if it is still very soft, let the fish cook another 3-5 minutes. The fish is done when it's mostly firm to the touch.
When the fish is done, turn off the braising collards.
Just before plating, baste the fish fillets with the butter braise.
Divide the greens between two plates or shallow bowls and top the greens with flaky finishing salt, if desired.
Lay a Tilapia fillet on top of the greens and serve.