Cooking To Impress: Panko Crusted Tilapia

Ben is continuing his series of “cook to impress” recipes.  This sounds delicious and perfect for any quick, but impressive, meal! I agree with his observation that salmon can be tricky.  It is delicious, but its naturally pink color can cause doubt as to the fish’s “doneness,” especially for a casual cook.  It is also a rich fish with a strong taste.  Finding sides to pair it with can make a difference in the success of a meal with salmon as the star.  I love Ben’s choice of Tilapia for this recipe.  You guys enjoy!



So early on while Anna and I were discussing our favorite foods, she mentioned that she really loves fish – particularly salmon and tilapia.  In my experience, salmon can be pretty tough to work with.  Despite what my mother and others may say, I feel it can be unforgiving and I’ve never had much success.  However, I’ve had quite a bit of success working with tilapia (and it’s cheap!)

So, the first time I made tilapia for Anna I went with one of my grandmother’s old standbys in her rainbow trout recipe, then made a few modifications of my own.

Panko Crusted Tilapia   (serves 2)

2 Tilapia filets

Panko-style bread crumbs

Seasoning Salt (Once again, I put Tony’s on everything)

4 tablespoons butter

Lemon juice



Pour panko crumbs onto plate and roll filet in them.  I really press down to get the crumbs to stick to the fish.  Once they’re coated in the crumbs, place them both in a properly sized baking pan.  Add the seasoning salt on top of the filets to taste.

Melt the butter in a bowl, and then add lemon juice to taste.  Pour the lemon butter over the filets in the pan, and then place the dill on top.


Bake the tilapia for 8-10 minutes or until it’s flaky when you cut into it.

I like to serve it alongside any kind of rice or couscous. (Yes, you can buy it from a box at the store.  Not every single thing has to be from scratch in order for your lady to love it!)



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Goodbye, Garlic


Garlic is one of the most commonly used flavors in food, so it’s hard to get away from if you aren’t a fan or have an allergy to it. Recently we were asked if there were any substitutes for the allium, and we have some answers for you!

Most of the time garlic is used, commonly with onion, early on in cooking to add aroma and flavor. If you can’t find a good substitute, you may be able to avoid using them in the recipe. But, consider a substitute if:

  • Garlic is the only flavor in the recipe
  • Garlic is the main part of the recipe
  • Garlic is used raw or lightly cooked

So you’re thinking, these rules apply to almost every recipe. Don’t worry, we have a quick fix for you! Since garlic is an aromatic, here are some that will still add a mouth-watering scent and flavor to your favorite dishes!

  • Fennel – its licorice-like taste goes well with chicken or fish.
  • Celery – this is surprisingly one of the most popular aromatics!
  • Bell Pepper – often used in Cajun cooking, this veggie makes a good base for rice or stew and goes well with celery!
  • Carrots – these can also be used with celery and are very popular with French foods.

In addition, you can try out these spices and herbs that will add flavor to any meal:

  • Peppercorn
  • Cumin
  • Horseradish
  • Ginger
  • Shallots

Hopefully this will help you the next time you’re looking for a garlic-free recipe. We love answering your tough cooking questions. Ask away any time on our Facebook page or right here on Leah’s Table!

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