Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia with Salsa

Our big basketball plans for Saturday evening fell through, so we took a little trip to Central Market instead. (Nice trade, huh?) I wanted something relatively quick and easy with minimal kitchen mess, so I decided to go with the Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia with Salsa recipe from the January/February 2006 issue of Everyday Food. I had never made this before, but I definitely will again.

I combined 1/3 cup of cornmeal, 2 teaspoons paprika, and some salt and pepper in a shallow dish, dredged four split tilapia fillets in the mixture, and then cooked two batches in 1 tablespoon of olive oil each. The smaller pieces took 2 minutes per side, and the bigger pieces took 4 minutes per side. That was it! I plated it, put a little salsa on top, and served up the rice and beans.

cornmeal_crusted_tilapia.jpg

TIPS: The recipe recommends that you split the tilapia fillets down the middle into thick and thin pieces, which I had never even considered. It really helped things cook evenly. Also, the fish cooled down pretty quickly. I think I’ll use the “hot plate” trick the next time I serve this. Warm your plates in a 200-degree oven, and then serve (carefully). Restaurants do it all the time!

Recipe links: Cornmeal-Crusted Tilapia with Salsa and Spanish Rice

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