Tilapia with Warm Crab Salsa & Manchego Grits

tilapia with salsa cropped

The real challenge for many home cooks is using what is readily available in the neighborhood grocery store and turn it into something fantastic, something creative, something inventive. In many rural areas, such as mine, access to gourmet or specialized goods and grocery stores is quite limited. Granted, I can order just about anything I want on Amazon, but who plans menus and orders their food on Amazon?  Not me.  I work with what is available, what is fresh, and what is affordable.

For this dish, my aim was to give the kids a dish that they were somewhat familiar with and still give them something new…something that they hadn’t tried before.  In the end, they were more bothered by the green peppers than anything else.  If that’s the only fault an 11 & 6 year old can find in a dish, then that’s fine with me!



4 Tilapia Fillets

1 c. yellow cornmeal

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 c. olive oil

Combine cornmeal, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Dredge tilapia fillets in cornmeal and shake off excess.  Heat olive oil in a skillet to approximately 350 degrees.  Sprinkle a pinch of cornmeal into the oil.  If it’s hot enough, the cornmeal will sizzle.  Fry tilapia fillets until golden brown.  Flip only once.  Remove from heat.


2 1/2 c. water

1 c. grits

1/2 tsp garlic powder 

1 tsp salt

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. grated Manchego cheese

Heat water, garlic & salt to boiling.  Whisk in grits and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook grits for 5 minutes.  As they cook, they will thicken. Add milk in small amounts while whisking to prevent sticking.  In last minute of cooking, whisk in cheese and remaining milk.  Remove from heat and allow to thicken.


1 can Ro Tel tomatoes (tomatoes with chilies)

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/4 c. chopped bell pepper

2 garlic cloves–crushed

2 bay leaves

2 TBSP olive oil

1 c. crab meat

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add peppers, onions, and garlic.  Saute until onions are translucent.  Do not burn.  Add tomatoes, bay leaves, and crab meat.  Use spoon/spatula to break up crab meat. Reduce heat and cook until thick…approximately 10 minutes.

For added heat, add 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes.


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