The first time I tasted tilapia was at The Inn at Le Rosier in New Iberia, Louisiana, where chef Hallman Woods III prepared it in a simply delicious manner. The second time was a Cajun inspired moment in my own kitchen, when I liberally spiced and semi-blackened up some. Originally, the tilapia available in markets was fished wild and had a salty, muddy taste. Nowadays the white-fleshed fish is farmer raised and sweet.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tilapia fillets (about 6 ounces each)
- 4 lime halves, for garnish
1. Prepare the spice mixture: Combine all the ingredients for the spice mixture in a small bowl.
2. Place the melted butter in a bowl.
3. Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over high heat for 5 minutes (see Notes).
4. Meanwhile, dip the fish fillets in the butter. Sprinkle them allover with the spice mixture.
5. Reduce the heat very slightly and sear the coated fish, 2 fillets at a time until very dark brown and crispy, 2 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining 2 fish fillets.
6. Serve immediately, garnished with lime halves.