Summer in the Philippines is more than halfway through and what do you know? I’m still alive. Honestly, this must be the most hectic summer my family’s had for as long as I can remember. Summer used to be long, hot, lazy days but this time, it’s just long and hot. I don’t think anyone had the opportunity to be lazy. The kids have been very busy with their school’s summer activities (and their social activities) and my husband and I have been taking turns driving them. With the heat, and the comings and goings, cooking has to be simple and fuss-free. And this torta (frittata), made with tilapia fillets and vegetables, was fuss-free. Very easy.
The tilapia fillets that I used to make this torta were not the skin-on fillets that I discovered at Shopwise (photo). Those were cheap at less than PhP 80.00 per kilo. My husband bought these tilapia fillets from Price Smart–skinless but more expensive at PhP 119.00 per kilo. But they were just perfect for making torta. Unlike the fish torta that I made in the past using flaked cooked leftover fish or canned fish which was really like using twice-cooked fish for the torta, this one does not make use of any leftovers. The torta has cubes of boneless fish, pan-fried just until cooked.
First of all, if you’re not using a non-stick pan, you will need more than 3-4 tbsp. of cooking oil. For tips on how to cook a non-greasy fish frittata using an ordinary frying pan. Cut the fish fillets into 1-inch cubes. Place in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Peel the potatoes and cut into half-inch cubes. Core the bell pepper and remove the seeds. Chop coarsely. Peel the carrot and chop coarsely as well. Do the same with the onion.
Heat the cooking oil in a non-stick pan. When hot, add the potato cubes and cook until lightly browned. Test a piece for doneness; you do not want them to be soggy. When the potatoes are almost done, add the fish and continue pan-frying for about a minute or just until the fish turns opaque. Don’t worry if the fish does not cook fully at this stage–it will have all the opportunity to get fully cooked after the eggs are poured in.
Next, add the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set the heat to medium-low and pour in the beaten eggs. Spread the fish and vegetables to make the surface as even as possible. Cover the frying pan tightly and let the torta cook for about 2 minutes or until the eggs are set and the underside is lightly browned. If you want to brown the “top” side, you may do so. I skipped that part since after inverting the torta on a plate, no one sees the “top” side. The important thing is that the visible side is nicely browned and the eggs are fully cooked.