Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

My husband and I eat beef--a lot of beef!  Both of our parents raise cattle and we come from meat-and-potato families.  But, for health and variety's sake, I try to occasionally throw some fish in the mix.  My husband hasn't always been a fish eater, but a honeymoon to Jamaica helped him realize that fish can be good!  

When discussing barriers to healthy eating with my clients, time is one that comes up over and over.  I always give them some fish recipes because it is so fast and easy!  My latest adventure in baked fish is this Parmesan Crusted Tilapia recipe.  It took maybe 5 minutes to throw it together, and 12 minutes to bake.  Plus, I lined my baking sheet with foil, so the clean up was easy! 

So to summarize, this recipe is quick, easy, healthy, and delicious.  I think we can all go for that!  Here is how you can make it happen in your kitchen:

This is our cast of characters.  I love recipes that include simple ingredients I already have on hand!  
This recipe called for unseasoned breadcrumbs.  I usually make my own breadcrumbs by toasting the heel from a loaf of bread or just letting a slice stale, and chopping it up.  You might note in this picture that my cutting board is a picture of my husband and me from our wedding.  Yes, it does seem a little weird chopping food on a wedding picture, but I'm used to it now.

All you need to do is mix the dry ingredients, then brush mustard on fish fillets. Then coat the fish with the crumb mix, place on your baking dish, sprinkle with the cheese, and bake about 12 minutes.  
Fillets before baking
To make this a simple, balanced meal I would recommend whipping up some minute brown rice which you can dress up with your favorite seasonings and some roasted red pepper.  Then just throw together a side salad and you are all set!

A few notes:
  • I made this with swai instead of tilapia because that is what I had in my freezer.  You could use any mild, white fleshed fish.
  • The original recipe is from and called for 4 fillets.  I was cooking for 2 and did not particularly want leftovers, so I only used 2 fillets.  However, I kept the amount of most of the seasonings the same and that is what I am putting for my recipe.  I love flavor!
  • Although this is called parmesan crusted tilapia, the parmesan cheese didn't really stand out.  The mustard, bread crumbs, and salt combined to make more of a mustard pretzel taste.  Either way, my husband took one bite and exclaimed, "Yum!"  And that's saying something from a meat and potatoes guy!
Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia
adapted from by Amber, RD at

Breadcrumbs from one slice whole wheat bread
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tilapia (or other white fish) fillets
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
4 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
Stir together breadcrumbs, parsley, paprika, and salt in a shallow dish (I like to use a pie pan).  Brush both sides of each fillet with mustard.  Place fillets in crumbs and coat evenly.
Place fillets on baking sheet.  Sprinkle fillets with cheese.  Spray top of fillets with cooking spray.
Bake 10-12 minutes (thicker fillets will need to bake longer) or until fish flakes easily with fork.

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