I love working with it as it's firm, meaty flesh cooks quickly and holds together nicely in the sautè pan. I love buying it, because let's face it, as seafood goes it's downright cheap to put on your plate. I even love inking it into our weekly meal plan because everyone in the family totally digs it.
It's not that I have to choke it down because I find it too fishy for my taste (like salmon….ugh), but there's something about it that puts me off slightly. Call it a mild, dirty-water funk….I don't know, there's just something about the flavor of the fish that comes across as slightly less than pristine to me.
So, if I'm going to eat Tilapia, AND enjoy it, I need to do something more than just give it a quick, naked sautè in butter and lemon. I need to prepare it in a way that masks the elusive funk that haunts me every time I nosh on the little buggers. In this recipe the panko crust alongside the homemade tartar sauce accomplishes this chore perfectly. Spritz the crispy filet with some fresh lemon and dredge each bite in the chunky, briny goodness of the tartar et voila, a treat to be enjoyed by even the finickiest seafood eater.
Cheers – Steve
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle or dill pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 Tilapia filets
- canola oil
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 200 ℉. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
- In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, red onion, relish, parsley, capers, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.
- Line up three wide, shallow dishes. Put the flour in the first, beat the eggs lightly in the second; put the breadcrumbs in the third. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Working with one filet at a time, coat it with flour and shake off the excess. Then dip the filet in the egg and dredge it in the breadcrumbs, patting them on to help them adhere. Set each breaded filet on a plate or tray as you finish.
- Pour the oil 1/4 inch deep into a 10-12" skillet. Heat over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking, or until a breadcrumb sizzles and browns quickly when dropped in the oil. Cook two of the tilapia filets until they are crisped and browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining two filets.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges and the tartar sauce.