Tilapia Parmesan Recipe

This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com for Broiled Tilapia Parmesan, but rather than broil I like to bake it. I’ve done it both ways and it probably doesn’t make much difference in the end, but it’s easier to pop it in the oven, set the timer, and forgetaboutit.

Tilapia Parmesan Recipe

I mixed up the topping ingredients in a small bowl — basically parmesan, butter, mayo and lemon juice along with onion powder, celery salt, basil, salt and pepper. You can play around and add other flavors if you like. I like to add some garlic powder because I’m of the opinion that everything tastes better with garlic. It’s definitely better with juice from fresh lemons, but when I’m in a bind I just use the stuff that comes in the bottle.

Then I rinsed and dried enough tilapia to serve our family — I think I bought 3 or 4 fillets this time — and laid them out on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and plopped the parmesan mixture on top.

All you do is pop it in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until it’s a light golden brown and the fish flakes with a fork.

I served it with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans.

Tried and True: Tilapia Parmesan
Recipe type: Main Dish, Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets
  1. Mix together all ingredients except tilapia.
  2. Place tilapia filets on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and top with the parmesan mixture.
  3. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until it's a light golden brown and the fish flakes with a fork.

A note about tilapia: It’s probably not the most healthful fish to eat, and you pretty much can only find farmed tilapia. I generally avoid farmed fish due to the fact that they’re usually fed a diet high in corn (which is almost always genetically modified) as well as antibiotics and growth hormones. And then there’s the dioxins, PCBs, fire retardants — um, HUH??? Yeah, you read that right. (Granted, tilapia supposedly contains less PCBs than farmed salmon, so at least there’s that.) Still, there’s plenty of information out there to discourage you from eating farmed tilapia ever again — not the least of which is that it usually comes from China. You couldn’t pay me to eat fish from China.

On the other hand, tilapia is inexpensive compared to other fish, plus it’s tasty and quick to prepare, which makes it a great easy family meal. So when I found this farmed tilapia at Whole Foods last week, and it said on the package that it was fed no antibiotics or growth hormones, I snatched it up and brought it home with me. I’ve been doing some googling, and I found this on the Whole Foods website:

So what’s the difference between our farm-raised seafood and what’s available anywhere else? We know exactly where our farmed seafood comes from. We know where it swam and we know what it was fed…and more importantly, what it wasn’t fed!

Farm-Raised Tilapia
Our tilapia is raised in Ecuador and Costa Rica to our strict standards which prohibit antibiotics and preservatives. Nor do we allow the industry-standard use of hormones for sex reversal. And, our tilapia feed contains fish processing trimmings instead of wild fish caught just for feed.

That’s all somewhat comforting. I don’t know how to reconcile that with the articles about Whole Foods and their “Prison Tilapia” — but either way, it’s not raised in China and they don’t use growth hormones. That counts for something in my book.