When you get your hands on a super simple fish recipe, a recipe that is essentially foolproof, that’s cause for happiness. It’s also cause for a fish dinner, any night of the week.
Lemon Butter Sauce for Tilapia
The butter sauce cooks along with the fish resulting in a browned butter sauce that is fragrant with garlic and brightened by the lemon juice and lemon zest. If you like a spicier sauce, add a bit more red pepper flakes. Make sure to serve some nice crusty bread with the fish to sop up all of the delicious sauce. Or serve the fish with its sauce over rice or another starch or grain like polenta or grits so that not a drop gets wasted.
Lemon Garlic Tilapia: This is the simplest baked fish recipe with a butter sauce that is bright with garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest.Tweet This
What Is Tilapia?
Tilapia is a very firm, mild-tasting white fish. There are several species available, and Seafood Watch (the respected seafood sustainability agency run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California) has information about which are the most healthful and least impactful on the environment.
They say that Blue Tilapia (also known as Izumidai or Saint Peter Fish) from Peru is the most sustainable. Hybrid Red Tilapia from Ecuador is also a best choice, as is Mozambique tilapia from various sources. If you want to dig deeper and find out where the most eco-friendly tilapia is from, and what the best farming methods for tilapia are, click here.
Substitutions for Tilapia
You can make this with any firm, flaky fish filet, such as catfish, red bream, flounder, red snapper, branzino, trout, and striped bass. Frankly, this recipe is so straightforward that other fish not all that close to tilapia would also be great; it’s really about baking the fish in a lemon garlic butter, which, as far as I know, is a perfect companion to any fish or shellfish on the planet. Try salmon or perhaps a swordfish steak.
How to Bake Tilapia
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season tilapia with salt and pepper and place in a shallow baking pan in a single layer.
In the microwave or a small pot, melt the butter until it turns a light golden brown. In the same small bowl or pot, mix together the melted butter, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and zest, then pour over the fish.
Bake the tilapia for 10 to 12 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. You can tell that it’s cooked through when it is opaque and flaky.
Sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot.
What to Serve With Baked Tilapia
- Roasted Asparagus
- White or brown rice
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Sauteed Broccolini and Corn
- Caprese Garlic Bread
- Sugar Snap Pea Salad
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Lemon Garlic Tilapia
- 4 tilapia filets
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Season tilapia with salt and pepper and place in a 13×9 baking pan, or a pan large enough to hold the filets in a single layer.
- In the microwave or in a small pot, melt the butter until it turns a light golden brown. In a small bowl or pitcher, mix together the melted butter, Parmesan, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and zest then pour over the fish.
- Bake the tilapia for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish is cooked through (flaky and opaque). Transfer to plates or a serving platter and sprinkle with the parsley; serve hot.
The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
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This was fabulous, my wife and teens just LOVED It. I added two small mods: a dash of Italian seasoning to each filet and sprinkled them with paprika which gave the fish such a beautiful color.
One of my favorite tilapia recipes I’ve found and was so easy to prepare. Will do it again and again. Thanks so much!
When do you use the Parmesan. I don’t see where you put the Parmesan in at?
sorry with the rest of the topping ingredients – it’s in there now!