We like seafood around here. Everyone has his or her favorite ranging from which type of seafood they prefer to how it can be prepared (i.e. breaded, grilled, fried, baked etc). The only problem is that seafood scares me. Why? It’s not the taste (that I love), its the prep. Because of it’s cost, I have a much harder time presenting fish to the sacrificial “teach me to cook” Gods than almost any other protein. The fear of wasting money paralyzes me and thusly…my family doesn’t get a lot of fish (unless I make my mother-in-law cook it, which, up until we moved into our current digs last August, I made her do for me. How lame is that? But she does such a great job that I really didn’t see the point in sacrificing a perfectly good fish to my poor skillet skills.)
Ok so every once and a while I dare to put my fear behind me and cook fish. Coconut Tilapia was a sweet reward to my most recent venture. And when I say sweet…I mean that literally and figuratively, but mostly literally. The inclusion of cream of coconut v. milk can be attributed for the mild sweetness this recipe produced.
This was inspired by a recipe I found on foodfrenzy as a winner of a monthly contest. I thought I knew what was going on with this recipe but somehow I missed that this had a marinade and was oven baked (something to look forward to on another day I suppose...really I need to examine the entire recipe before I decide to make it). All I saw was the panko bread mix and it wasn’t until after I got started when I realized, I didn’t have everything I needed…panic set it.
Breathe breath…I could do this. I CAN do this! I can wing it…right? Yes I can! I CAN DO THIS!
And so I did.
In the end, it turned out that this fish, was nothing to be scared of. The kids loved the sweet crunch and Boy and I enjoyed how the raw orange bell peppers and boiled brown rice sides tempered the sweetness to make for one truly satisfying fish dinner. Now you try it.
Coconut Encrusted Tilapia
2 tbsp olive oil - divided
½ cup whole-wheat flour (or AP- you know me I like my whole grains)
1 tbsp cream of coconut
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup coconut flakes
salt and pepper
6, 5 oz. tilapia steaks
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Put flour in a shallow dish
- In another shallow dish beat 1 egg with cream of coconut
- Combine Panko bread crumbs and coconut flakes in a third shallow dish
- Pat fish dry with towels and season both sides with salt and pepper
- Coat fish in flour, dip in egg wash, then coat in breadcrumb mix. Repeat with remaining fish.
- Once oil is shimmering, place 3 of the fish in the skillet and cook until breading is toasted and golden brown. Flip and do the same for the other side. When finished transfer to a clean plate and tent with foil. Heat remaining oil and cook remaining 3 fillets. When complete, serve with brown rice and julienne bell peppers.
Notes: This recipe will cover 6, 5-oz. fillets however to stretch my buck I used three fillets that were split lengthwise. This also helps the fish cook thoroughly without burning the breadcrumb coating.
Source: Apron Appeal original, inspired by Down Home Foodie: Coconut Milk and Citrus Tilapia