Mom's Tortilla Cilantro Crusted Baked Tilapia

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Baked Tortilla Cilantro Crusted Tilapia
Serving Size: 
2-3
Preparation Time: 
15 minutes
Ingredients: 
  1. Frozen Tilapia fillet                                                       2 fillets
  2. Crushed mixed flavored tortilla and chips               9-10 Tbsp
  3. Garlic salt                                                                       1 1/4 tsp
  4. Brown sugar                                                                  1/4 tsp
  5. Olive oil                                                                           2 1/2 Tbsp
  6. Minced Cilantro                                                             2 - 2 1/2 Tbsp
  7. Lime juice                                                                      1/2 tsp
  8. Green chili pepper                                                     ~1/4 tsp (depending on how spicy is the chili pepper and your tolerance)
  9. Baking parchment paper                                        
Procedure: 

    I sort of stole the idea of this recipe from a frozen tortilla crusted Tilapia product from Costco. The Tilapia fillets are packed marinated and you just bake and serve. It tastes so good and my kids love it, but it looked very oily and fried even though we just baked it. Since we also buy the un-marinated Tilapia fillets regularly to do our own marinate, so I thought we can make it ourselves based on the ingredients listed on the package and by guessing. I then tried my own recipe a couple of times and compared mine with the bought ones side by side. Mine turned out really great and tasted almost like theirs or better and a lot less oily, so I decided it is time to post my recipe and share with everybody. I'll tell you the secret of the success : Cilantro is the secret ingredient cool. Cilantro mixed with flavored mixed  tortilla and chips turn into some holy flavor that you don't recognize any more it's only just our good old friend cilantro. Chili pepper's spicy taste also helps.

    One thing I like about this recipe is that it makes use (more like gets rid) of the remaining salty mixed tortilla and chips snack that's been floating around and nobody wants to finish. I used the kind of mixed tortilla and chips snack as shown in the picture below, but I am sure other flavored tortilla chips will taste as good. When we bought this brand of mixed tortilla and chips snack, we complained that it was too salty. That probably makes it a good candidate for marinating Tilapia. One drawback of this brand of chips is that there are peanuts and almonds which you probably don't want in your marinate mix. All other chips in the bag are ok.

    Here we go!

  1. Defrost Tilapia fillets in time so you can slice them to thinner slices. I usually took them out of freezer at least 3-4 hours ahead of time. Arrange all 4 sliced fillets on the parchment paper on a baking pan side by side. I use parchment paper because I don't want to have a hard time washing the baking pan with the oil and crusts. The parchment paper helps.
  2. If you are using the same brand of mixed tortilla and chips as the picture shown below, remove peanuts and almonds from the mixture. Crush mixed tortilla and chips with mortar and pestle or whatever better tool you have (mine is too small).  Get about 9-10 Tbsp and put in a mixing bowl.
  3. Wash cilantro thoroughly. Mince cilantro to get about 2 to 2 1/2 Tbsp and add to crushed tortilla and chips.
  4. Mince chili pepper and add to mixture. The chili pepper I used is the small kind as shown in the picture below with minced cilantro. I ended up using two of those, and it turned out pretty spicy but tastes great. You decide carefully about how much your family can tolerate.
  5. Add olive oil to mixture.
  6. Add lime juice to mixture.
  7. Add sugar.
  8. Add garlic salt.
  9. Stir and mix the mixture thoroughly.
  10. Marinate Tilapia fillets with the mixture by spreading the crust evenly on both sides of the fillets.
  11. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.
  12. If you are using the conventional oven under the cooking range, preheat oven to 400ºF. I normally just use the toaster oven so preheat is not necessary.
  13. Bake for 8 minutes or until fish is cooked.
  14. Take the parchment paper with fish out and just serve with the parchment paper on a plate.
  15. Enjoy!

 

The mixed tortilla and chips used in this recipe
The mixed tortilla and chips used in this recipe
Put mixed tortilla and chips in mortar
Put mixed tortilla and chips in mortar
Pound and grind mixed chips with pestle
Pound and grind mixed chips with pestle
Crushed mixed tortilla and chips
Crushed mixed tortilla and chips
Frozen Tilapia fillets
Frozen Tilapia fillets
Slice each Tilapa fillet horizontal to flat surface into two thinner fillets
Slice each Tilapa fillet horizontal to flat surface into two thinner fillets
Cilantro
Cilantro
Minced cilantro and a small chili pepper on the side
Minced cilantro and a small chili pepper on the side
Garlic salt
Garlic salt
Lime juice
Lime juice
Marinate and coat tilapia fillets on both sides with seasoned mixed tortilla and chips
Marinate and coat tilapia fillets on both sides with seasoned mixed tortilla and chips
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