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Herb & Parmigiano Crusted Tilapia with Quick Tomato Sauce

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Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Quick Fish
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 90

Why should chicken have all the fun? In this recipe, it's a mild and quick-cooking tilapia that gets a coating of herbs and cheese. And, because of its simple yet flavorful sweet tomato sauce, even people who usually pass on fish are willing to give this dish a try.

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • Pinch granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley, chives, or oregano
  • Four 6-oz. skinless tilapia fillets
  • 1 large egg

In a small (1- to 2-quart), heavy saucepan, cook the garlic in 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat until it begins to color, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, sugar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, on a large plate, toss the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano, herbs, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Beat the egg in a wide, shallow dish. Dip each fillet in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing it on to help it adhere.

In a 12-inch heavy-duty nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 4 Tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add two of the fillets and cook until the coating is nicely browned and the flesh is opaque and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Use a slotted spatula to move the fish. Repeat with the remaining fillets. Serve the tilapia with a spoonful of the sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Sautéed Broccoli Raab with Balsamic Vinegar.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 420; Fat (g): fat g 26; Fat Calories (kcal): 230; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 38; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 11; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 730; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 105; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

When using IQF (individually quick frozen) fillets, I find them to be waterlogged, so I cut them in half, place them between my hands, and press firmly, but gently, to wring some of the water out. They crisp up better and taste better.

We make this all the time! It is an easy recipe and classy enough to serve to guests. I almost always use ground up triscuits for breadcrumbs (they are whole grain and easy to make) and this recipe really shines with them (no problems with adherence either). The sauce is simple but divine. We serve this with Parmesan couscous and steamed broccoli.

This is a very tasty recipe and not difficult. Next time I would use less oil in the sauce because it tends to float and isn't necessary. Since I had amberjack on hand, I used it instead of Tilapia. The only downside was that because of the crust I wasn't able to observe the extent of doneness and found it easy to overcook the fish. Contrary to other comments, I had no trouble getting the crust to stick, however I used 1/4c less bread crumbs so the cheese had more of an opportunity to melt and adhere. I would also be interested in trying a nonstick pan with less oil.

Loved the coating on the fish, it was delicious! My husband and I felt like the tomato sauce took it in a different direction...not bad, just not good. We thought just a squeeze of lemon juice on the fish was enough to enhance the flavor of the fish. I'll do the fish again, just not the tomato sauce.

This recipe was so quick and easy!!! The bread crumb coating browned nicely and made a delicious crust over the Tilapia. The quick tomato sauce was an excellent choice to accompany the Tilapia adding a delicious savory blend of herbs and an appealing red color to the dish. I loved it and so did my dinner guests!!

Fabulous taste! Big hit with my husband and kids! The preparation made tilapia, which is usually a very light fish, into a more hearty meal. However, I could not get the coating to adhear. I patted the fish dry before dipping in the egg, used lots of oil in the pan and still no luck. I just pieced the coating onto the fish when serving which worked, sort of. Next time I will try panko instead of fresh bread crumbs. Taste = 5 stars, appearance = 3 stars.

Our family loved this recipe. The flavors were wonderful and I didn't want the meal to end. Very simple to make but looks and tastes like the best fish you've had at a fine restaurant.

A great and easy dinner - I added a bit more parmesean but otherwise followed the recipe. The sauce is WONDERFUL and so easy...great for dipping bread in as well! A keeper.

This is one of the best tilapia recipes I have ever made. The parmesan crust was just absolutely delicious, especially with the mild flavor of the tilapia. The garlic tomato sauce was perfect and easy to make. It was an easy week night dinner. I can't wait to try it again. My husband loved it. thanks.

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