Tilapia is actually one of my favorite fishes to eat. There are numerous different ways to prepare and make them, but my favorite has always had a bit of an Italian twist to it (I lived with an Italian for 2 years). Here you will read about the proper way to cook and serve my favorite version of tilapia – parmesan encrusted tilapia.
What you need:
- 4 fillets of Tilapia – I always have 1 fish per person. If there are 4 of you, then you will need to prepare 4 fillets. This recipe is for 4 people.
- ¾ of a cup of parmesan cheese. For a bit of extra flavor, I will sometimes sprinkle a bit of Romano cheese in with the parmesan. It gives it an extra kick.
- 1 tablespoon of parsley – always tries to use fresh so it is extra fragrant. Dried parsley is just not as good.
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- Olive Oil – this can make or break the recipe. Make sure to purchase a good brand as a cheap one does not have to same taste and consistency. Believe me, if you splurge on something in your kitchen, it needs to be olive oil.
- Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste. Yes, it must be freshly ground.
- A non-stick baking tray or a baking tray wrapped in foil
- An oven preheated to 400F or 200C
- 2 shallow dishes and a whisk
- Mix parmesan cheese (and Romano cheese), paprika, parsley together in shallow dish with whisk
- Pour olive oil in the second dish
- Take one tilapia fillet at a time and dip in first in olive oil, then proceed to the other mixture and coat thoroughly
- Place each fillet, one at a time, on baking sheet
- Once you have all four fillets coated in olive oil and parmesan mixture, put the baking sheet in the oven. If you have a timer, set it to 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes, check on the fillets. They should take no longer than 12 minutes to bake
How to eat them:
This is the fun part. There are numerous side dishes you can eat with your parmesan encrusted tilapia. Here are a few of my favorite side dishes and flavors you can do them in.
- Risotto and sautéed spinach. This is my favorite combination. If you do not know how to make risotto from scratch, you can always just purchase a box with the ingredients in it already. I will usually make mine with mushrooms and olive oil. I just cook my risotto in stock (chicken, vegetable or beef) and add the mushrooms while cooking. I add the olive oil after it is all cooked to make it richer in flavor. I then sauté the spinach in freshly cut garlic and olive oil. For those who make spinach, you know it only takes a few minutes for it to be sautéed, hence why I make it last. You can cut up your tilapia and place it on top of the risotto and spinach. I would then have it with a glass of wine and call it a day.
- Mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Comfort foods at their best. Since I lived with both Irish and Italians at different times, I have perfected my mashed potatoes. If you want to do it Italian style, boil your potatoes as usual. When they are finished, drain the water as usual and then put them back in the pot on top of the hob. Then proceed to take your milk and butter, and warm them up in the microwave (the amount of butter and milk depends on your taste). Once warmed up, pour them on the potatoes and add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. If you want to make them Irish/British style, drain and place on stove as usual and then add your desired amount of butter and milk and then add leeks for some extra flavor. Then add salt and pepper as desired. With broccoli, just steam them in salt water. No need to add butter since they are lightly seasoned when steaming. Now, the pint of beer.
- Brown rice and salad. These are my final side pairings for my parmesan encrusted tilapia. They are easy to make. I often just purchase microwavable pouches of rice since I am not able to cook it myself. Then I get creative with my salad. A mixture of lettuce, plump, juicy tomatoes, shredded carrots, chickpeas, craisins, feta cheese, chopped almonds, edamame and whatever else floats my boat. I always then top it off with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Usually, the ratio is 2:1 for vinegar and olive oil. I love the extra zing the red wine vinegar has in it. Now, where is the wine?