It’s Friday – Let’s Pan-Fried our Tilapia

Before I share with you today’s Fish Fry, I need to go off on a rant for a moment. I wanted to do a little research into the types of fish Jesus might have eaten. He was Jewish, so the fish was scaled and not skinned, as in no catfish. Tilapia was and still is very common throughout the world. Personally, I like it for its mild flavor and flaky fry. Anyway, as I was floating around the internet I came upon a question posted way back when. It was a woman looking to bake bread for her mother’s church communion. And so begins my rant.

As a Catholic, I have mixed emotions about home-baked breads used for communion, but I get the idea behind it. The woman felt honored to be asked (and rightly so) and wanted to stay as true to an ancient Jewish recipe as possible, hence the question. I admired her dedication to do right by her mother and her church. After all, she could have baked up her favorite recipe and called it a day. Obviously, she took the task very seriously. Anyway, her question was followed by a host of well-meaning responses. One response in particular stood out. I apologize right now if I am about to offend any of my readers. That is never my intention.  But here goes. This person wrote that the Last Supper was not the Jewish observation of Passover as so many believe. It was a proven fact since the painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vince clearly shows leaven bread on the table. Hello!! While this is a beautiful painting, it is an interpretation and NOT a photograph. Don’t get me started with the historical inaccuracies within the painting. It is a beautiful work of art, viewed through the eyes of a 15th Century artist. The table, the seating, the view out the window all reflects those 15th Century understandings.

last supper

Enough religious ranting – let’s get to cooking. As a diabetic, I’ve been instructed to eat fish or seafood at least twice a week. I wish I could tell you that I’ve stayed true to these instructions without fail. Unfortunately, I am lucky to get one fish supper a week. There are far too many delicious alternatives to the whole no-meat on Fridays teachings of old that are still in keeping with Catholic discipline.

Lent is coming, so I know I’ll be much better at the fish-eating Lenten tradition. By the way, doctors need to grow a sense of humor. When told “eat fish” I responded “Great – I love King Crab in butter!” I knew what they meant, (healthy food) and it was a joke!

Here’s a Pan-Fired recipe that is doctor approved.

Indian Spice Pan-Fried Tilapia
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs Tilapia Fish Fillets
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Turmeric
Kosher Salt
White Pepper
Lemon Wedges, for serving
Tarter Sauce, for serving (below)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan to coat the bottom.

While the pan is heating, liberally sprinkle the fillets with paprika and cumin on both sides. Sparingly sprinkle fish with the turmeric.

Complete the seasoning with a little salt and fresh pepper.

Once the pol is hot, add the fillets to the pan. Cover and fry for 2 minutes.

Using fish spatula, carefully turn fish over. Cover and continue to cook for 2 minutes longer.

Uncover, check fillets for doneness. The fish should be white and flaky. If the fish is pink or translucent in the thickest part of the fillet, continue to cook, checking and turning every 2 minutes to avoid over-cooking or burning.

To serve; place fish on a platter. Garnish with slices of lemons and lemon wedges. If desired, serve with tarter sauce on the side.

This fish is delicious with rice and sautéed vegetables.

Original Recipe: John Spottiswood at Cook Eat Share


Homemade Tarter Sauce
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Sweet Pickle Relish
1 Tablespoon finely chopped Red Onion
1 Lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 tablespoon Parsley Flakes

Mix together all the ingredients for the tarter sauce. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours for flavors to mature.

tarter sauce

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.