4 tilapia fillets (7 to 8 oz. each; look for sustainable fish)
About 1 tsp. smoked paprika
3 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
4 piquillo peppers or 1 large roasted red pepper from a jar, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped, whites and greens separated
1 cup white rice
A fat pinch of saffron threads
1 ¾ cups chicken stock
½ cup drained, sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
1 cup each fresh flat-leaf parsley and cilantro leaves, plus an extra handful of parsley for the rice
About 1/4 cup EVOO
1 lemon, juiced (about 4 tbsp.)
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. drained capers
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large red or white onion, halved and thinly sliced
10 to 12 mini sweet peppers—halved, seeded, and sliced lengthwise into strips
12 corn tortillas
Season the fish on both sides with salt. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Pat the fish dry; season with paprika and pepper. Halve the fillets lengthwise. Put the thinner halves in one pile and the thicker ones in another.
In a large saucepan or skillet with a lid, heat 2 tbsp. butter over medium to medium-high. When it foams, stir in a third of the garlic. Add the piquillo peppers and scallion whites; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the scallions soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until toasted, about 1 minute more. Stir in the saffron. Add the stock. Bring to a boil. Cover the rice and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the olives and the handful of parsley. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.
In a food processor, pulse 1 cup each parsley and cilantro, the EVOO, half the lemon juice, the shallot, chile, capers, and vinegar until finely chopped. Transfer the chimichurri to a small bowl
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, one turn of the pan. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. butter. When it foams, add the thicker pieces of fish and cook, turning once, until browned and just opaque in the centers, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Add the 4 thinner pieces of fish and cook, turning once, until browned and just opaque in the centers, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the platter. Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice. Cover the fish with foil to keep warm.
Add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, two turns of the pan, to the skillet. Increase heat to high. Add the onion and mini peppers. Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the edges begin to brown. Add the remaining garlic; season with salt and pepper. Add about 1/4 cup water and stir the vegetables, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release the browned bits.
Working over an open flame on a gas stovetop or in a stainless steel or cast-iron skillet (heated over high), cook the tortillas until charred, about 30 seconds per side.
Break the fish into bite-size pieces. Serve with the peppers and onions, tortillas, and chimichurri. Top with the scallion greens. Serve with the rice.