When I go to a restaurant and order fish, I want it to be intensely savory, incredibly flaky, juicy on the inside and delicately crispy on the outside. I want the fish to be very present in flavor, but I don’t want it to be fishy. And I want to taste distinct other layers of flavor…not so that they overpower the fish, but so that they enhance it. Gosh, I’m kinda picky, huh?
This baked tilapia with Parmesan and panko crust fits those criteria so well, it is one of my absolute favorites. I love the delicate crispiness of the topping because it gives me the illusion of deep fried breading without the heaviness of deep fried breading. And who needs a restaurant when you can make this, with very simple ingredients, in 20 minutes or less?
If fish is not really your thing, I sincerely encourage you to give this recipe a try. I bet that after trying this beautiful baked tilapia, you will proudly proclaim yourself a fish fan.
Let’s make this baked tilapia with parmesan and panko crust
I was able to find some beautiful tilapia fillets at the store today. They are about 1/3 lb. each. That’s a nice chunk of fish for a meal.
Melt the butter. Then add the lemon juice, diced garlic, and parsley.
Season both sides of the fillets with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Then place them in a shallow baking dish.
Spoon about half of the butter sauce so that the tops of the fillets are completely coated. Some will run into the pan. That’s ok. It will help flavor the underside of the fish while baking.
Mix the panko and Parmesan together. Then spoon the entire mixture equally over the fish.
Bake at 400° F for 10 – 12 minutes. In the last couple of minutes, randomly sprinkle some of the remaining butter sauce over the browning crust. Don’t pour it or drench the crust, just randomly drizzle it with a spoon or spatula. Put it back in the oven and bake until the crust is a golden brown.
Not only will you have some beautifully baked tilapia, but your house will smell SO GOOD!
Please serve them nice and hot. Food ALWAYS tastes better hot. And you don’t want to cheat yourself out of the baked tilapia fillets at their prime.
Warm up any leftover butter sauce and take it to the table, in case someone wants to add more.
When you first take a bite, you’ll feel the texture and flavor of that lightly crisped, Parmesan-y topping. Then you notice the flaky fish, teasing your taste buds with its lemon, garlic and buttery goodness. And by that time, you are well into bites two and three, because it is THAT delicious.
Check it out. I’m sure you’ll agree.
- 4 tilapia fillets (approximately ⅓ pounds each)
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 2½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Season both sides of the tilapia fillets with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Melt the butter and add the diced garlic, lemon juice, and chopped parsley.
- Place the seasoned tilapia files in a shallow baking pan.
- Spoon about ½ of the butter sauce over the fillets, making sure to coat the entire surface.
- Mix the panko and Parmesan cheese together, and spoon equally over each fillet.
- Bake until starting to turn golden grown (about 10 minutes).
- Randomly drizzle some of the remaining butter sauce over the fish and bake another 2 minutes or so.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot. You can slightly warm up any remaining butter sauce if anyone wants to add some to their fish.