Friday, October 7, 2011

Liz Adair's Tilapia Recipe

I love tilapia. I loved it even before I could pronounce it. I tried to say ta-la-PI-a instead of ta-LA-pi-a. The first time I ever heard of it was a few years ago, and now I find it everywhere. The truth is, it's been around for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians had a hieroglyph for tilapia. There were tilapia in the Sea of Galilee when Jesus walked along its shores.

Why did I only just now find out about it? I guess until a few years ago there wasn't anyone telling us we needed to be eating it. It's an easily-farmed fish. In fact they have been farming it on a small scale in several countries since ancient times. Now it's being farmed on a large scale, and they need to find a market for all that fish.

I used to buy tilapia at Costco in the fresh fish cabinet, but with just Derrill and I eating it, I'd always have to freeze three quarters of what I bought. Then I found vacuum-packed, flash-frozen fillets at Wal-Mart for a great price. They are wonderful. I can't tell the any difference from the fresh, except that the Costco tilapia are larger. I don't find that a problem.

Here's one way I fix tilapia:

First, put the top rack down to the middle of your oven. Preheat to 450 degrees.

Spray the bottom of a cookie sheet with Pam. (I line it with foil first and spray the foil. It makes for easy cleanup.)

Take the fillets out of the vacuum pack and put them on a paper towel to dry.

Mix breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a 5 to 1 ration, breadcrumbs to cheese.

Put about 1/4" oil in a shallow bowl.

Dip each fillet first in the oil and then in the breadcrumb mixture and place in the pan. I put the flat side down.

When all fillets are in the pan, place it on the rack in the preheated oven. Turn the oven to BROIL.

By the time you put the fish in the oven, you should have the rest of your meal pretty much ready, because it doesn't take long for the fish to cook.

Keep an eye on it, and when the fish is brown, turn off the oven. If your fillets are large and thick, let them sit in the oven until the flesh flakes when you lift it with a fork.

Take the fish out of the oven and serve with lemon and/or tartar sauce.
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Alice Wills Gold said...

I will change the way I cook my tilapia. I have always put them in a tinfoil tent and I like the idea of them coming out with some crisp.

Thanks for the recipe.

Liz Adair said...

Thanks, Alice. I don't know the tinfoil tent. I'll have to try that. I also poach tilapia in about 1/2 inch of milk. That's quick and easy.

Nana said...

Now I HAVE to see the documentary and HBO movie about big and little Edies. And I'm going to have to try cooking tilapia. I haven't ever even eaten it, but that looks and sounds really good!