Baked Tilapia with Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan Crust
Do you cook with tilapia? Tilapia is farm-raised and rather mild in taste. I usually lean toward more flavorful fish, that said, this recipe is one of the best recipes I’ve ever made with any white fish. The flavor is all in the crust, a mixture of sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and spices—perfect to liven up tilapia, or another mild white fish like snapper or cod.
We originally made the recipe paired with a mixed berry sauce, just a simple reduction of mixed berries, a little sugar, and water. The sauce is fabulous with the fish, though I think it sounds kind of weird. Who puts a berry sauce on white fish? It works because of the crust. It’s acidic, and like lemon juice helps balance out the flavors. The sauce optional though. The tilapia is great all on its own, with just a little lemon juice drizzled over to serve.
Look for tilapia that has been farmed in the United States (see the Monterery Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch on the subject.)
- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs, seasoned or unseasoned, or 2 cups panko
- An additional 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning if you are using unseasoned breadcrumbs or panko
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 8 sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 tilapia fillets, about 1 1/3 pounds
- Flour for dusting, about 1/3 cup
- 1 beaten egg
Optional berry sauce
- 2 cups mixed berries (frozen work well)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup water
1 Place the breadcrumbs, seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Add the sundried tomatoes and olive oil and pulse until the consistency of a coarse meal.
2 Spread some olive oil along the bottom of a roasting pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
3 Rinse off the tilapia fillets with water and pat dry. Spread flour on a plate. Place beaten egg in a shallow bowl next to the flour. Place breadcrumb mixture in a bowl next to the egg. Put a large plate next to the breadcrumb mixture. Then, working one by one, dredge the tilapia fillets first in the flour until lightly coated, then dip in the beaten egg until coated and let the excess drip off. Then place a small handful of the breadcrumb mixture on the large plate and place the fillet on top of it. Sprinkle a generous amount of breadcrumb mixture over the top of the fillet and press down with your fingers. When both sides are well breaded, gently transfer the fillet to the roasting pan.
4 Place the baking pan with the fillets in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through, and the fillets easily flake with a fork. (If serving with berry sauce, you can make the sauce while the fish cooks.) Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or two before serving.
Serve with slices of lemon with which to drizzle over the fish, and/or the optional berry sauce.
To make a berry sauce, place the berries in a small saucepan. Add a 1/4 cup of water and sprinkle with sugar. Bring to a simmer and gently crush the berries a little with a potato masher or the back of a fork, just enough to break up the larger berries. Cook gently uncovered for several minutes, until the sauce is reduced to a syrup.