Kitchen Tips: How to sear a tilapia fillet

By | January 17, 2013


I was eight months pregnant when I started having tilapia for lunch at least once a week. Something on What to Expect (which I checked religiously at the start of every week of my pregnancy, thankyouverymuch) had said I should be getting lots of omega-3s, and a quick Google search told me that tilapia was an easy source. So why not, right?

I could hardly believe my good fortune when I found that my makolet carried (inexpensive) frozen tilapia fillets. The truth is, I’m always pleasantly surprised by what they stock. I guess if you walk in assuming they won’t have what you want, it can only go uphill. Which it totally did in the case of the tilapia.

Because as I discovered, tilapia can go from a frozen fishy thing to a beautifully seared fillet in just minutes. Here’s how.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Slice open the package and rinse the frozen fillet under running water to melt away the ice. Next, pat the fillet dry (as much as you can) with paper towels. Putting a wet piece of fish in a hot pan of oil is asking for trouble, so don’t skip this step.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan and place the fish inside, skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat for three minutes.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Flip it carefully and add a little more oil, just enough to keep the bottom of the pan greased. The skin should now be crispy and golden, especially around the edges. Three more minutes on the clock…

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

And you’re done! The top of the fillet should now be gently browned. It will also flake easily with a fork, but seriously, who wants to flake their fish before plating it?

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Top with a pat of butter right away so it starts running in rivulets down the hot fish. Add a little more salt and pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and devour.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

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Ita Ariela on January 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm.

This looks delicious. I have been looking for fish recipes..


stephanie/the kosher foodies on January 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm.

i can’t believe that beautiful piece of fish on your plate came from a frozen fillet!


shaindy on January 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm.

We’ve had frozen tilapia in our freezer for a while cuz I had no idea how to make it. Can’t wait to try this!


Sue on January 18, 2013 at 12:41 am.

what is tilapia? and what type of fish is it?


Tali Simon on January 26, 2013 at 11:14 pm.

Tilapia has white flesh and is pretty mild in taste, so it can be prepared in lots of different ways. High in protein and omega 3, and tends to be inexpensive. Hope that helps.


jessica (the kosher foodies) on January 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm.

that filet looks gorgeous!


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