Tilapia can get a bad wrap. It’s not tender and fatty like salmon, nor is it firm and flavorful like tuna. It’s sort of an in-between fish, and can often be written off as boring. No more! We’re here to vouch for tilapia; it has so much to offer! It’s lean and inexpensive, making it a great choice for your next weeknight dinner. Follow a few simple rules and take this affordable filet from zero to hero.
Ok, we’ll admit, the rumors are true. Tilapia is quite bland on it’s own. That’s why we season the filets with a hearty pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper right off the bat. This should ALWAYS be step 1.
Dredge It Good
Tilapia is almost never sold with the skin, meaning there’s no opportunity to get a nice crunchy sear. In order to bring some texture back to the fish, we give it a light dredge in flour. This golden, crunchy coating is really what takes this recipe over the edge. We took our seasonings in a Latin-American direction, but feel free to improvise. Smoked paprika, dried oregano, or even spice blends like Old Bay all would go swimmingly (har har) with this fish.
If you’re serving fish, there’s a good chance there’s some sort of citrus on the table. The acid helps cut through the rich flavors and helps balance the final dish. Lemon or lime wedges won’t ever let you down, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try orange or grapefruit!
Herb-y: Fully Loaded
Don’t forget to finish with fresh herbs! They bring freshness, flavor, and dimension to your final dish. Go with whatever you love, just make sure it doesn’t clash with the spices you used. Think: basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, fresh oregano, or tarragon. Better yet, mix and match! There’s no such thing as too many herbs.
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 (6-oz.) tilapia filets
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil, divided
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and cumin. Whisk to combine.
- Season tilapia filets generously with salt and pepper, then dip each in flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. Place on a clean plate or baking sheet.
- In a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add 2 filets and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until crust is golden and fish flakes easily with a fork. Repeat with remaining filets.
- Serve immediately with cilantro and lime wedges.