Remember a while back I tried to nut crust this tilapia? And during the cooking process I almost scrapped the whole thing because it was tricky and sort of falling apart, HOWEVER it turned out really yummy so I’ve been motivated to try again.
The day I was planning to make this dish I happened to be on the phone with my mom, and was asking if she had made anything really good lately for some inspiration. She said she had made pan seared tilapia (sans the nut crust) the night before with just lemon and butter and how simple and relish it was. I told her about the irony that I too was making tilapia but that I wanted to try nut crusting again and she told me her secret!! She said, what she does it first pan sear the tilapia in butter/oil/lemon and then use your hands to gently press the nuts on top of the fish, lastly pop it in the oven to crisp up.
Let me tell you, this was a million times easier and sooo good. This will officially be in the regular rotation going forward and you should really try it out for a very fancy seeming meal that you can easily make for one or more in 15 minutes!
What I used: (served 2 with some leftover veggies)
- 1/2 bag of Trader Joe’s salted shelled pistachios (fill a small cereal bowl)
- 2 tilapia filets
- 1 small lemon
- 1 bag of fingerling potatoes
- 1 large head of broccoli
- First toss the pistachios or whatever nuts you are using (almonds, macadamia nuts, etc) into a small plastic bag, seal it and then use a mallet or pan to crush them into smaller pieces.
- Optional Step: Dry roast the nuts, this helps add some flavor to them and just takes a couple of minutes. Simply pour the nut powder from step one into a dry pan and heat all the way through on medium head for no more than 3-5 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Bring a mixture of oil/butter to high heat in a nonstick pan, add your tilapia (I did a little salt/pepper on each side of the filets). Cook on high heat on each side until golden brown – about 5 minutes per side. Squeeze the lemon juice over top of the filets while searing on each side (be prepared for a little spark or sizzle!)
- Remove filets and put them on a baking sheet, then use your hands to gently press the nuts on top. Pop back in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes
- Roast the fingerling potatoes with oil/salt/pep at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Put these in about 20 minutes before you start cooking the fish for everything to be done at the same time.
- For the charred broccoli, clean the pan you used to cook the fish and then turn the heat back up high and add your oil/broccoli florets, and salt/pepper/maybe more lemon juice. Cook on high heat until the florets are charred while the fish & potatoes finish off in the oven.