Tilapia has got to be my favorite fish mainly because of it’s mild flavor and growing up, my mom would cook fried tilapia – bones and all – served with white rice and sweet chili dipping sauce. Fried tilapia is actually one of the first dishes I have tried -and failed miserably -making on my own when I was younger. Apparently, I was too impatient to heat the pan and oil thoroughly so as to avoid the fish from sticking. My dad took over the frying and he didn’t mind doing the dirty work so he can have a perfectly looking fried tilapia on his plate for dinner. Now that I am married, and away from my parent’s delicious cooking, I had no choice but to learn how to cook my own fish. I am taking the safe and healthy route for now and baking my own tilapia. This tilapia sandwich recipe is so simple and you can start making it with just a few ingredients readily available in your pantry.
Here are some tips on buying tilapia:
- Fresh tilapia should remind you of the sea. If they smell “fishy” or musky, it must be an older catch and should be avoided.
- If fresh tilapia is not available, consider buying frozen tilapia filets which has not been frozen longer than 3 months
- Avoid buying filets that have been sitting in excess liquid; tilapias will absorb the taste of water it sits on
- Their eyes must be clear and NOT slimy or murky
- Their gills must be dirt-free, and their scales must be shiny, NOT peeling or flaking
- Rinse thoroughly and pat with clean paper towel to dry before cooking
- They lose their flavor in time, so buy tilapia when you are close to cooking them
Baked, Parmesan-crusted tilapia sandwiches
- 4 Tilapia filets, cleaned and patted dry
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 4 demi baguettes or hamburger buns, toasted
- I cup mixed greens or lettuce, washed and patted dry
- 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp juice of lemon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place flour on shallow bowl, and whisk the eggs on a separate bowl.
- On another separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs with shredded parmesan cheese. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Drench the tilapia in flour, then the egg, and finally on the breadcrumb mix. Make sure to evenly coat each filet.
- Place on a sprayed baking sheet. Repeat process until you go through all your filets.
- Bake the fish fillets for 15 to 18 minutes, or until fish is cooked through. The time depends on thickness of the fillets. Fish will flake easily with a fork when done.
- Remove when done and let slightly cool.
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, garlic and lemon. Stir completely.
- Cut the toasted demi baguette in half, and spread some garlic mayonnaise on each side.
- Arrange mixed greens or lettuce on the bottom half of baguette, then place one tilapia fillet top.
- Add optional toppings like onions or tomatoes, based on your preference.
- Serve with fries or salad.
- You may also add onions and tomatoes to build your sandwich