Cajun Tilapia

This super-easy weeknight meal is a mix between Meunieure and Blackened, yet fast and easy to make.

This is an awesome weekday meal. It's a blend between meuniere and blackened that is delicious, easy to make, fast, affordable and reasonably healthy.

I was looking for an easy-to-make white-meat fish dish to make during the week. I have always been a fan of Sole Meuniere and other fish dishes with lemon butter sauces, so I started there. What would give me that flavor in the fastest, easiest way?

  • Tilapia is a great value.
  • Sauteing would make it fast.
  • A microwavable pour-over sauce would be super-easy 

I found the inspiration for the sauce in a recipe for Roasted Branzino with Caper Butter by Steve Corry on Food & Wine. I simplified it a bit with dried spices, made it healthier with good quality low-fat butter, and added a cajun overtone with Paul Prudhomme's Redfish Magic rub (which, by the way, makes an awesome pan-seared blackened salmon).

The sauce is, in my opinion, a cut above lemon-butter sauces that do not use capers. The parsley can be skipped if you like, as there's not much flavor there. Also, you can skip the Redfish Magic for a lighter, more traditional flavor.

TOTAL TIME: 20 min

  • Prep:      10 min
  • Cook:     10 min

YIELD:    4 servings

LEVEL:  Easy

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Tilapia filets
  • Minor amount olive oil or low fat butter to coat fish in for sauteing.
  • Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons low fat butter 
    • 2 teapoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped capers, drained
    • 1 teaspoon Paul Prudhomme's Redfish Magic rub
    • Other
      • Dried (or fresh) parsley  - a few sprinkles
      • Pepper to taste
      • Salt to taste

Tips

  • Land O'Lakes Light Butter with Canola oil is excellent, and has half the calories of olive oil.
  • Use a high quality food thermometer to ensure great results every time, such as the Thermapen MK4.
  • Splitting the tilapia lengthwise down the middle let's you cook things more evenly. Put the thin pieces to the edge of the pan, away from the heat, or else add them after the thicker pieces have already started cooking.

 

 

DIRECTIONS

Make the sauce. 

  • Put butter in a coffee cup or small bowl, melt for 30 seconds in the microwave.
  • Add lemon. Taste and adjust if needed.
  • Chop up the capers and add them. Use a garlic press or fork to squish them if you prefer. It's about taste, not appearance:)
  • Add Redfish Magic
  • Sprinkle some parsley, black pepper, and salt in to taste.
  • Reheat again later, just before serving with the fish.

Coat the tilapia in olive oil or low fat butter on both sides.

Cook tilapia to 125 - 130 degrees. Use a large non-stick skillet so you can cook at least 2 pieces at a time. Bring skillet to medium-high temp. Add tilapia, using only the oil/butter coating on the fish. Cook for a couple of minutes on one side, then flip. Cook several more minutes until interior temp is 125 - 130F in the thickest part. You can also just pull it when it's white and flaky inside (no longer translucent or pink). Don't overcook it or it will become dry and chewy.

Zap the sauce for another 30 seconds and pour over top of the fish. Enjoy!


Other Photos

These are the core ingredients for the sauce. Parsley, salt and pepper are optional.

Finished butter sauce. The dark stuff is real parsley leaves - dried leaves can be substituted.

2 Tilapia filets in a large skillet with only a coating of butter. They brown well on medium-high heat, even in a non-stick skillet.

It's so easy to overcook fish. The digital thermometer is a huge help.

Ready to pour the sauce over it.

Re-heat the sauce just before serving, and pour it over the fish. Time to eat!