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We originally made the recipe paired with a mixed berry sauce, just a simple reduction of mixed berries, a little sugar, and water.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.

Baked Tilapia with Berry Sauce on Simply Recipes

 

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Baked Tilapia with Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan Crust Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Look for tilapia that has been farmed in the United States (see the Monterery Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch on the subject.)

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Links:

Almond and Parmesan Baked Tilapia from Kalyn's Kitchen

Wikipedia on Tilapia

Baked Tilapia with Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan Crust on Simply Recipes

31 Comments

  1. Sandy S.

    Berries with fish, hey? Well, I’m game to try it. You have a very good track record at our house!
    Recently I have been experimenting with eggplant recipes. I think I will try your breading on it as well when I make the tilapia. The berry sauce may be good on it, too!

  2. Kathy

    This looks very good. I will try this over the weekend.

    I’m glad you mentioned the Seafood Watch. I think it’s important to shop responsibly. I carry one of the cards in my walet to refer to when I shop.

    Thank you.

    • Sandy S.

      Thank you Kathy and Elise for drawing my attention to the Seafood Watch website. They make it so easy to learn a lot quickly and make good choices. The pocket guide will be with me now, too!

      • pattie

        They also have a smartphone app. Very useful for shopping and restaurants, although I am wary of restaurant fish lately given all the talk about how deceitful some can be on their menus.

  3. Kelly

    I like tilapia but have a hard time finding fillets that don’t taste fishy. Sometimes I think if you cut off the grey parts of the flesh, that helps a bit. Any insight?

    • Elise

      I think you just have to make sure that either you’re buying the fillets frozen, and defrosting them right before you use them, or buying very fresh fillets. I often ask the fish monger at our local market when the fillets came in. “This morning” is the best response. Rinsing the fish (and then patting dry) also helps.

      • Kelly

        Thank you for the reply; I’ll definitely be taking your advice though a local fishmonger might be an obstacle.

    • Paul

      Buy tilapia at COSTCO..fresh or frozen.

  4. Marta @ What Should I eat for breakfast today

    I am not sure if I ever had tilapia. I had to google it as I wasn’t sure what it is. It must taste great with sun dried tomatoes.

  5. donutty

    Tilapia is a weeknight favorite in our house. I usually dust with flour or cornstarch, season with a little salt and pepper, and pan fry it for a few minutes on each side. Sometimes I squeeze a little lemon juice to finish it. I often serve it with your (raw) home fries and some green beans.

  6. FoodJunkie

    Thanks Elise, now I know what to do with the Basa fillets I have. So far they have been most unimpressive and this recipe should perk them right up.

  7. Rebecca

    This looks and sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to try. I know this is going to be a totally stupid question, but what is the reason for a separate plate with bread crumbs – why don’t we just lay the filet in a shallow bowl of the bread crumb mixture and then flip it over to coat second side?

    • Elise

      I found this process works well for me. I put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl because I don’t want to dip my hands into the food processor bowl to pull some out. I don’t dump them all in a shallow bowl to dredge because egg residue may be left on the remaining breadcrumbs making it more difficult to dredge other fillets, and because I can more easily control and portion out the amount of breadcrumbs I am using. But to each her own. Whatever works for you.

  8. Jayne

    I’ve had baked fish fillet with blueberry dressing before and it was mindblowing! Love that crust.

  9. Lee

    Sounds wonderful! I agree with Sandy S., the breadcrumb mixture would be a good one for Eggplant as well. My question: What berries did you use in your sauce? Thanks!

  10. Ray

    Tilapia were one of the three main types of fish caught in Biblical times from the Sea of Galilee.

  11. JoAnn

    I can hardly wait to try this – we are always looking for good seafood recipes in the summer and we LOVE your recipes – we also live in the Sacramento area, so we find your site to be timely and to use many of the same items that we have fresh in our garden or at the farmers market. I am using the last of my sundried tomatoes from last year’s harvest and I think they will make this superb! Thank you for the amazing ideas!

  12. Kevin @ Closet Cooking

    Now that is a really tasty coating for chicken!

  13. Hannibal

    Tilapia is an African river fish that thrives in high density schools. Its a favorite with aquaponic farmers because they say if you have a 55 gallon drum of water you can raise 55 Tiliapias. This has been attested to. They apparently get along very well.

    Unfortunately because of the propensity to school so densely they outbreed other fish and in the U.S. you can’t breed them in most states. Texas and New Mexico forbids the importation of live fish because they are considered an invasive species. That means even aquaponic farmers can’t use them in any state that forbids this live fish.

    They are mild and medium dense. I have it fried and steamed and I am going to try this recipe complete with the berry sauce. You can also make an orange sauce and that acidity goes well to enhance this fish. My brother makes tilapia crouettes with a lot green and red bell peppers with a liberal amount of jalapeno to heat it up. Pretty good eats. This new recipe gives one more way to enjoy this fish that is becoming very popular because its easy to breed.

  14. Kalyn

    Awesome recipe. I agree completely that Tilapia can be a little blah without something to add flavor, but this sounds like it would be delicious!

  15. Chef Art

    Tilapia is farmed raised in pens and fed gmo grains and who knows what else. Do you know any fish that eat grains in the wild? Eat only wild caught fish.

  16. Jerri

    Or, if you have access, you can just buy the same sun-dried tomato crusted tilapia already done an Costco!!!

    • Gary

      Yes, you could go to Costco but if you noticed the crust on these filets are like a paste and packaged who knows when? Even though the package shows the date(s) the coating is made way in advance for perhaps 100’s of Costco warehouses. But again as Elise said…. to each his/her own. I do know though that Costco does sell Tilapia filets without the crust which could be another option. Having control in the making of the crust, as well as the amount put onto the filet, including the no delay to cook it, is what makes this recipe a winner over Costco.

  17. Dean E.

    Made this a couple of nights ago and was very happy with how it turned out. I used mixed frozen berries for the sauce which did indeed work just fine. I especially liked the idea of processing sun dried tomatoes with the breading mix … ingenious and delicious!

  18. Dean E.

    Regarding the “fishy” flavor of some tilapia … try marinating in milk for about a half-hour. For some reason this seems to reduce that fishy flavor.

    • Gary

      Recently I bought two fresh Halibut steaks for BBQ and to my surprise upon opening the package within an hour of purchasing them these steaks had an awful fish smell. The trick? I rinsed both under cold water while gently rubbing the flesh with my finger especially the center boning part, dried them with a clean paper towel and voila no more smelly fish. Unless the fish is very old or not fresh at all this trick will not work. Mistakes do happen at the store and filets can be mixed with other ones before being displayed so I most always rinse my fish… filet or not.

  19. rebecca

    I have sun dried tomatoes that have to be rehydrated. Can i use and if so, how much?

    • Elise

      Hi Rebecca, I do not know. I’ve only ever worked with the sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil.

  20. Cookie

    I made this this week and it was excellent! Really loved the flavor of the crust! Thank you for sharing.

    http://cookie-loves.com/2013/07/sun-dried-tomato-crusted-baked-tilapia.html

  21. Laura

    This was so tasty!

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