In effort to eat more fish, I’ve been researching recipes for tilapia, since it’s one of the more affordable fish in the US. I tend to buy frozen fillets and then thaw them in the refrigerator when I’m ready to use them. I highly recommend this mode if you don’t live somewhere with access to the ocean. I find that I get a fresher taste than if I buy ‘fresh’ fillets in the market where they’ve been sitting on the store shelves for a few days, but I think that’s mostly just preference.
What I loved about this idea was that you get loads of flavor without adding much additional fat or calories since the flavor comes from herbs and spices. This spice combination has a cajun feel that goes great in sandwiches. If you want an even lower-calorie option, you could certainly serve the tilapia plain with a salad, rice pilaf, or fresh fruits and veggies.
We went the sandwich route this time and used kaiser rolls since our choices were kaiser rolls or dinner rolls, but you could certainly use whatever your favorite is. We served ours with a simple lemon garlic tartar sauce (recipe below), crisp lettuce, tomato and a little cheese, but you could certainly make them up any way you choose. You could even switch out the type of fish you use for another favorite white fish, such as catfish.
If you are only cooking one or two fillets at a time, you could certainly half the spice mixture, but I recommend making the full amount and storing the extra in a glass jar or airtight container and using it again. We plan on making the same sandwich with chicken later this week and will use the rest of the spice rub then.
- 4 (4oz) tilapia fish fillets, patted dry
- 1 1/2Tbsp paprkika
- 1Tbsp salt
- 1Tbsp garlic powder
- 1Tbsp onion powder
- 1/2Tbsp sugar
- 1/2Tbsp black pepper
- 1/2Tbsp oregano
- scant 1/2Tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1tsp thyme
- 1–2Tbsp olive oil
For Lemon Garlic Tartar Sauce:
- 1/3c mayonnaise (I like olive oil mayo)*
- 3–4Tbsp ketchup*
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- In a small glass jar or a bowl, combine all spices. Using a spoon, sprinkle spice mixture over both sides of the tilapia and rub in with fingers, coating well. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add tilapia to the pan, cooking about 3 minutes on each side or until fish has become opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
- For sandwiches, serve on buns with favorite toppings.
For Tartar Sauce:
- Whisk all ingredients together well. Serve as a spread for sandwiches or dip for fish.
*Gluten & Dairy Free Notes: be sure your mayonnaise and ketchup are dairy and gluten free. I like Kraft olive oil mayonnaise and Hunt’s No High Fructose Corn Syrup ketchup. Also, be sure to serve it on a gluten free bun, like Udi’s or Rudi’s.