I had clipped a recipe for Crispy Oven-Baked Tilapia with Lemon-Tomato Fettuccine for the next time I wanted some new ways with fish. It appeared in Southern Living’s (9-2011 issue) Quick-Fix Suppers feature. A reader had asked for some inspirations for her family’s Italian night; she stated that she was tired of the “same old spaghetti”. The recipe to which I was attracted was one of two of the magazine’s suggestions for her.
For me this wasn’t exactly a “quick-fix”. The magazine stated that “hands-on” time was 33 minutes. But I didn’t have panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and had to make my own crumbs by pulsing leftover wheat-bread slices in the blender. I also decided to add a couple of fresh, chopped tomatoes besides the can of petite-diced tomatoes the recipe specified. Hubby hadn’t been able to round up spinach fettuccine when he went to the store, so I subbed with some basic spaghetti I needed to use up. Prep-time minutes, for me, probably were closer to 45.
However, the meal, once on the table, was wonderful and truly did represent a new way with fish. I thought adding the fresh tomatoes significantly added to the flavor of this entree. Definitely not the “same-old, same-old”. Hubby got his wish for fish; I scratched my perpetual itch for cooking up something different. Everybody was happy.
Crispy Oven-Baked Tilapia with Lemon-Tomato Fettuccine
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 teaspoon paprika
4 (4-ounce) tilapia fillets
2 teaspoons salt (or salt substitute), divided
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) package spinach fettucini (I subbed spaghetti)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped sweet onion
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite-diced tomatoes (I used the no-salt variety and added 2 chopped, fresh tomatoes)
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grate zest from lemons to equal 4 teaspoons. Cut lemons in half; squeeze juice from lemons into a measuring cup to equal 2 tablespoons. In a shallow dish combine panko, paprika, and 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Sprinkle fish with 1 teaspoon salt (or salt substitute). Dip fish in 1/4 cup melted butter; dredge in panko mixture. Press panko to adhere. Place fish on a lightly greased rack in an aluminum foil-lined boiler pan. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over fish. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Meanwhile prepare pasta according to package directions. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until golden. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until tomato mixture begins to thicken. Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons capers, and remaining 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, Remove from heat and toss with hot pasta, feta cheese, and basil. Serve with fish. Makes 4 servings.