Broiled Parmigiano Tilapia
|There's nothing like comfort food.. something that makes you feel all warm and coozy inside and reminds you of happy memories from your childhood. The previous macaroni and cheese recipe was many people's idea of comfort food. For me, macaroni and cheese wasn't something I ate at home - my parents never made it. But it was one of those elementary school lunches that caused every single kid to "forget" to grab their bagged lunch, before running out the door to catch the school bus. And from what I can remember.. from so many, many years ago.. was that my elementary school lunch ladies made some damn fine macaroni and cheese! It was usually paired with fish sticks or hot dogs. Perfect fare for hungry kids who needed that boost of energy before going wild on the playground. Yanno how you needed that extra sumptin' sumptin' to give ya the edge when chasing the boys around the swing sets, right? Was that just me? Boy crazy before I hit my teens?? Anyyyhooo.. when I decided on the mac and cheese I wanted fish sticks too!! But I didn't think Hubbs' would be as pleased with chopped and processed fish pieces covered in a crunchy bread coating and then dipped in ketchup as I would have been. And yes.. before Hubbs, I use to dip my breaded fish in ketchup. I know!! I'm a dork. :D I don't do it anymore because the first time he saw that combination I thought he was going to have a stroke. He's a fisherman yanno. And dipping freshly caught fish into ketchup of all things was close to sacrilegious to him. hehe|
So I went in search of a more "grown up" recipe for some tilapia I had recently purchased. I found this recipe on All Recipes where I find a lot of excellent recipes submitted by good home cooks. I usually look for the recipes with 5 stars and lots of reviews and this one came in with not only 5 stars but over 1,000 ratings and reviews, so I hadda try it to see what all the fuss was about. It was certainly delicious but nothing mind blowing. A very nice way to add extra flavor to a mild fish without making it heavy. I'll definitely try this recipe with other types of mild fish as well.
What you get is this creamy topping that's both cheesy and lemony but doesn't overpower the mild flavor of the fish. It's not cheese heavy or too lemony - but a great combination of the two, which relieved me because Hubbs isn't a huge fan on overly cheesy recipes. Yep, it's a keeper =)
1/2 c. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/4 c. butter, softened
3 TBS. mayo
2 TBS. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. dried basil (I used fresh)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. celery salt
2 lbs. Tilapia filets
Mix all ingredients, excluding the fish, in a small bowl. Set aside.
Broil the Tilapia on a greased broiling pan, or do what I did which was place a cookie rack in a jelly roll pan sprayed with olive oil, for 2-3 minutes, flip and continue broiling for an additional 2 minutes. Take the fish out of the oven and spread the Parmigiano mixture evenly over the filets, place back under the broiler and broil another 2 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and bubbling and the fish is flaky. Be careful not to overcook the fish.
My Notes: It was kind of hard to incorporate the softened butter with the mayo and lemon juice, so I think next time I'll zap the butter until it's just melted. To make it lighter, I'd cut the butter down to maybe just a few tablespoons and use fat-free or reduced calorie mayo. Also, I really think more fresh herbs in the mix would be delicious. Maybe fresh chopped parsley and a few sprigs of thyme to go with the basil. =)