Steamed Tilapia with Citrus Salsa and Spinach

Steamed Tilapia with Citrus Salsa and Spinach

Steamed Tilapia with Citrus Salsa and Spinach is super simple and super healthful. The salsa made with oranges, lemon, and a hot, fruity habanero.

Steamed Tilapia with Citrus Salsa and Spinach 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Inspired by Martha StewartPublished
Steamed Tilapia with Citrus Salsa and Spinach


  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 1 large lemon
  • ½ small shallot (peeled and thinly sliced into rounds)
  • ½ habanero chile (stem, seeds, and ribs removed, finely chopped )
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tilapia filets (skinned)
  • 6 cup baby spinach (about 6 ounces)


Create the citrus segments: Start by identifying the top, stem end of the orange. Using a small paring knife, slice off this top and then the bottom, just enough to expose the pulp. Begin at the top, just where the pith (white part) meets the pulp and slice downward towards the bottom removing a 1 to 1 ½ inch section of peel. Try to cut away all of the pith but very little of the flesh, following the curve of the fruit as well as you can. It does take practice but it is not hard.

Continue the process working around the fruit in 8 or so slices. Your peeled fruit will end up vaguely octagonal as you look at it from above.

Take a look at your handiwork and carefully shave off any remaining pith.

Next slice out each segment by cutting in towards the center of the fruit along the membranes/walls on either side of each segment. If you are unsure about this, take a good look at the fruit before you slice. You’ll see white lines that mark the edges of each segment. Run your knife down one side between the flesh and the membrane, then the other side of the same segment. Remove the segment, placing it in a medium bowl. Repeat with the lemon.

Add the shallot, chile, cilantro, lime zest and juice, oil, honey, and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper to the bowl with the citrus segments. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes, gently stirring occasionally.

Fill a wok or large pot with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Line bottom basket of a 10-inch, 2‑tiered round bamboo steamer with parchment paper. (Alternatively, use two pots fitted with steamer inserts.) Season fish using remaining 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer in bottom basket. Cover, and set over boiling water. Steam until fish is just barely cooked through, about 5 minutes. Put spinach into top basket, and set over bottom basket. Steam until spinach is bright green and just wilted and the fish is completely opaque and cooked, about 2 minutes more.

Divide spinach among 4 plates. Top each with fish and ½ cup salsa. Serve remaining salsa on the side.