Pan Fried Tilapia

1 Oct

Frying the first side, almost ready to be turned.

I always thought cooking fish was hard and my dad always laughed when I said that. The first time I made salmon I realized why he laughed. Fish really is pretty easy. But until tonight I had only ever cooked salmon or tuna. For tonight’s dinner I wanted to do fish, but I wanted to do something different. Tilapia filets were on sale at my grocery store, and after much consideration (I even thought about doing chicken instead) I bought one filet for myself.

Then I visited the produce section and grabbed a handful of green beans (one of my favorite side dishes) to cook up. They’re easy and a great side dish to any fish. I had bread crumbs at home and various seasonings so I came in at about $2 for dinner. Can’t beat that.

Most fish goes best with a white wine, especially a white fish like tilapia, so I paired mine with another Riesling (my go to white wine), this time from Hedgeline Vineyards (2010). I had never tried their wine before, but it sounded delicious! It was a crisp fruity wine that I really enjoyed and will probably purchase again. And yes, the plate is from IKEA! For dessert I had a treat from a sweet shop I discovered in Atwater Village, Sweets for the Soul. The Peanut Butter Brownie Shot (click for picture!). If you like brownies and if you like peanut butter, you’ll like this. It’s the brownie version of a mudpuddle (a future post for sure!).

Pan Fried Tilapia with Green Beans and a glass of Hedgeline Riesling


  • 3-4 oz Tilapia filet
  • 1 Tbsp very fine bread crumbs (approximate)
  • 3 Tbsp oil (olive, vegetable, canola, your choice)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Rosemary leaves to taste
  • Handful of fresh green beans
  • Half a lemon or lime (optional)

1 Serving
(if using more than 2 filets, add another tablespoon or two of oil as needed, and only cook 2 filets at a time. Add additional green beans as needed)

Turn the oven to 300 degrees (this will be to keep the fish warm while you cook the green beans). In a medium saucepan heat the oil on high. While that’s heating, on a plate or the wrapping the fish came in, sprinkle the bread crumbs on either side of the filet along with salt, pepper and rosemary leaves to taste. Before the oil is at a full boil but a couple of bubbles have started, place the filet in the hot oil. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. While waiting, nip off the ends of the green beans, this should take up the time for side one, then flip the filet (carefully, you don’t want to splash the (very) hot oil on yourself) and fry the other side for 2-3 minutes. While you’re waiting for that side to finish, take out a cookie sheet or other oven safe pan and place a paper towel on it. Once the fish is done place it on the paper towel pan and stick it in the oven.

Sautéing the green beans in the oil used for the fish.

Turn the heat down to medium and throw the green beans into the oil. Yes, the oil that you just cooked the fish in. Why waste it and why dirty another pan? Salt and pepper the beans and saute for about 5-7 minutes or until they are as done as you like them. Remove the fish from the oven and squeeze your half lemon/lime over fish and beans. Enjoy!

3 Responses to “Pan Fried Tilapia”

  1. Bjorn Johnson October 2, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    I love how complete you are in your instructions ” (carefully, you don’t want to splash the (very) hot oil on yourself) “. A novice cook would be so comforted by your very clear and detailed instructions. You even give a visual for how to know when the pan is hot enough. Brava!

    • actinglikeachef October 2, 2012 at 9:21 am #

      Thanks Bjorn! As someone who’s been hit by very hot oil, it ain’t fun, lol.


  1. Broiled Tilapia with Honey Greek Yogurt Sauce | Acting Like A Chef - March 6, 2014

    […] to cook through the cookbook “Weeknights With Giada” continues with a fish recipe! Last time I made tilapia it was pan-fried and very delicious. It was one of the first recipes I shared on this blog and is […]

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