Kel’s Crispy Oven-Baked Tilapia

Lovely piece of fish @kelscafeFor years I’ve been buying what Brad and I refer to as “oven fish” from Whole Foods or Fresh Market. “Oven fish” is simply fish filets such as tilapia, trout or flounder, encrusted in some sort of bread crumb mixture that may include Parmesan cheese and/or nuts such as pecans, pistachios or almonds. Simply bake for 20 minutes or so, and voilà, you have an easy and delicious main dish to serve for dinner. But the breaded fish usually comes at a price, as most prepared “fresh” foods do – the other day it was $10.99/lb.

So I decided to save some money and make my own encrusted fish. I found some great tilapia filets for $6.99/lb. Sliced almonds were also on sale and became my nut of choice.

Tilapia on sale!

I’m not 100% sure what the stores use to make the crust stick on the fish, but decided to give mine a bit of a kick with Dijon mustard. Excellent choice! It gave the filets a nice depth of flavor that the store-bought fish does not have. It takes a little bit longer to prepare this fish instead of buying the store-bought, but not by much and what you save makes it all worthwhile!

Ingredients (for 2 filets)

Kel's tilapia ingredients

  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tilapia filets
  • ½ fresh lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup (or so) Dijon mustard
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the almonds, Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until you have a nice crusty mixture — it doesn’t need to be finely ground, but not too chunky, either. Put the mixture on a plate.

Food processor for the tilapia crust

Squeeze fresh lemon juice on both sides of the tilapia.

Lemon juice on tilapia

Slather the fish with the mustard and coat it with the almond-parmesan crumbs. (I put the Dijon on one side of the filet and place it mustard-side down on the crumbs, and then coat the other side of the tilapia with the Dijon and repeat.)

mustard and bread crumbs @kelscafe

Spray your baking pan with cooking spray. Place the fish in the pan and spray the tops of the filets with cooking spray.

Tilapia read to cook @kelscafeBake for 18-20 minutes, until the fish is flaky and the crust starts turning brown.

Tilapia out of the oven @kelscafe

Enjoy this with a green veggie like broccoli or green beans and/or a starch such as wild rice or couscous. A nice white wine or light pinot noir goes great with this as well.

Tilapia dinner served @kelscafe

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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