Even a food blogger has an epic failure every once in a while.  I have found that these posts get the most interest.  Maybe it is because it shows that even bloggers have faults.  I have no idea.  However, today is one for the books.  I have pan fried and finished many tilapia in my life.  Check out the blog post here.  I have also had many epic failures, check them out here.  However, this time I wanted to add a little tartness with sun dried tomatoes.  Sounds good right?  I have seen it before, however my execution was horrible. Well here was the recipe and the smoking hot story.

Sun Dried Tomato Tilapia

  • 4 Tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbs sun dried tomatoes, fine dice
  • 1 tbs of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • Rinse the fillets and gently pat dry.  No need to completely dry the fillets, just enough so that water is not dripping off them.

    Beautiful Tilapia Fillets

    Dice up the sun dried tomatoes as finely as possible.  The use of a food processor would have been helpful.

    Diced Sun Dried Tomatoes

    Then assemble the breading on a large plate or pie tin. Combine the the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

    Preheat the skillet over medium/high heat.  Add the oil and the butter.  At the same time turn on the broiler to low and set the rack about 6-8 inches from the heat.  If your broiler only has one temperature, then you will need to cook the fish for a little less time below.  I will note the difference.

    Dredge the fish into the breadcrumb mixture.  Coat both sides.  Remember that not too much of the breading with stick to the fish.  This will be lightly coated.  Just to add a little texture without weighing down the fish.

    Dredged Fish

    Once the butter and oil are hot, place the fish into the preheated pan.  Sear on one side for 2-3 minutes, or until the breading starts to brown.

    Flip the fish using a spatula and then place the pan under the broiler.  At this point everything was going great.  Then the shit hit the fan.  I did not realize that sun dried tomatoes would instantly light on fire when under the broiler.  The fish needed to be under the broiler for 4-5 minutes.   I put the fish under the broiler turn around and within a minute the smoke alarm was going off.  The tomatoes instantly caught fire and ruined the dish.

    Super Crispy Tilapia

    Not sure how to remedy the situation.  I guess the first this would be to not finish the tilapia under the broiler.  However, what is the fun in that.  I think maybe soaking the tomatoes in a liquid to rehydrate them a bit before using them.  However, I was hoping the dried texture would add to the dish.  Any thoughts let me know.

    Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


    1. I don't see any way that you could really keep the sun-dried tomatoes in the breading and finish it under the broiler. My advice would be to keep the sun dried tomatoes out of the breading and finish it the same way and then I would use the sun-dried tomatoes as a topper.. Maybe a sauce? You wouldn't get the texture, but it seems that It would still be really good.

      I would modify this recipe not only in the ways detailed above, but I would also like to cook some bacon up until it is crisp and then crumble it (in a food processor) and add it to the breading. I don't know why but bacon and tomatoes go together like peanut butter and jelly for me.

    2. Nice to know for the future. Glad funny things happen to other people besides me

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