garlic beer tilapia for two

bob is not a beer guy.  It's the carbonation. Before grad school he didn't even drink soda—perhaps due to an early childhood experience with the stuff which reportedly led him to object to the "scissors" in the drink. "Reportedly" since bob has difficulty remembering what he had for lunch the day before let alone recalling details of pre-school experiences. We'll trust his mom's memory on this one.

But the USA is a beer drinking nation so bob eventually decided to overcome his distaste for it—by downing a pitcher a piece with a beer guy friend two evenings in the space of a week before acquiring dr status. This at least neutralized the distaste without actually crossing the line into appreciation. Which later came in handy with the frequent pizza and beer socializing in Italy that later followed.

Pennsylvania (where bob resides) is a liquor controlled state so it is a hassle to actually buy beer for home use, as required by hospitality etiquette when beer drinking guests get invited to dinner occasionally. Either you have to go to a beer distributor where you have to buy a case at a time, or if lucky, a half case, or go to a bar and overpay for a six-pack. Of course this leaves lots of leftover beer at home (in the garage, warm) which never gets drunk. At least in bob's home. Ani is not much help these days, having had a few too many cold ones as a grad student herself, many more times than bob.

After one such dinner from which three cold ones still remained in the fridge afterwards, bob brought home a pair of tilapia fillets for dinner. Thinking of doing them up quick in garlic and wine, white of course. But no leftover white wine was available and our white wine stocks were dangerously low, discouraging the opening of a bottle (warm) just for cooking—and no time for a quick freezer chill since this was supposed to be a fast prep. So the light bulb goes off in bob's head—why not beer instead? Why not, indeed.

So a big garlic clove, pressed, plus a few chugs of light beer, warmed in the chef's pan, joined by the tilapia fillets and simmered a few minutes did the job. With a little fresh lemon juice and black pepper contributed by ani. The beer basically evaporated for the most part leaving enough of a garlicky lemon pepper sauce/residue to nicely flavor the fish. Simple. Effective. Easily transferable to other kitchen situations. Maybe we'll get rid of that extra beer yet.


1 big garlic clove, pressed
juice of 1/2 lemon
a few chugs of a beer of your choice (lighter beer for fish?)
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
2 tilapia fillets for 2 people


  1. Press the garlic clove into a nonstick pan.
  2. Dump in some beer, enough to simmer the fish a few minutes without disappearing first.   Add in the fresh lemon juice, or whatever you got, container juice is acceptable.
  3. Simmer the fish a few minutes, adding some more beer if necessary (judgement call). Hit is with the pepper.
  4. Serve immediately.


  1. bob also will drink soda these days, although infrequently.
  2. bob has been known to actually try unusual beers in brewery restaurants, which seem to have come into fashion in the nineties.
  3. bob knows you don't really care about his beer drinking habits.
  4. Eating food cooked with beer will not make you drunk.
grlbtila.htm: 21-sep-2001 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]