Blackened Tilapia

Dear Boys,

This dish sounds, looks, and tastes kinda fancy.

The surprising thing is that it is so easy!

The key is in the seasonings.

You can make as much or as little of the spice mix as you like.  Just use the same amount of each one (except the lemon thyme – more about that later).  For this meal, I used one teaspoon of each and had just enough for our dinner.

You could use a much larger amount – such as  1/4 cup of each spice – and have some on hand for future meals.

(NOTE:  If you do decide to make some ahead, just be sure you don’t get wet, fishy fingers in your big spice stash.  You don’t want to leave any germs behind.  Just pour into a dish what you think you’ll use for the meal at hand.)

To make the spice mix, you’ll need equal amounts of the following ingredients:



DSC_0075garlic powder,

DSC_0074black pepper,

DSC_0073onion powder,

DSC_0071and paprika.

DSC_0082Don’t they look nice?  You know me.  I always like to see some color in our meals!

After you stir this together, you’ll be ready for the best part.

DSC_0091Lemon thyme!

It was planted here already when we bought our house, and it has managed to live all these years under my care.

This tells us that lemon thyme is a hardy plant which anyone can grow.  So, feel free to come get a clipping when you’re off on your own one day.  Or just come pick some to make your dinner.  You can see there is plenty.

DSC_0093This is what it looks like close up.

DSC_0094It has a woody stem which you don’t want in your food.  The thing that works best for me is to grasp the top of the stem with one hand and then pull downward with my other thumb and forefinger.  This makes the leaves come right off the stem.  (Sorry there isn’t a better photo of this process.  I couldn’t figure out a way to strip the leaves while using my camera!)

As for the amount, the thyme tastes great and also adds color and texture, so I use three times the amount as I do the dried things.  Dried spices and herbs have more concentrated flavor than fresh, as well, so less is required.

I know you smart boys can do the math, but just to make sure we’re clear.  For making one meal, use one teaspoon of everything else and three teaspoons of the thyme.

If you do the large stash for future meals, just multiply by three for the correct measurement of thyme.

Now you’re ready to put these spices to work for you.

You’ll need your fish of choice.  Tilapia is my favorite.  It tastes great, and the price is consistently good.

When preparing for this meal, flounder was on sale, so I gave that a try.  None of us really liked it as well as the tilapia.  You can experiment to see what you like best.

DSC_0107The tilapia I usually buy is packaged in small portions.  The flounder was bought as large filets,

DSC_0110so I cut them to appropriate sizes.

Rinse with cold water and pat dry.



Then spread the fish on a plate or board and begin covering with the spice mix.



Be sure to press the spices into the fish with your fingers to help them stick.

DSC_0112Pour olive oil into a large skillet and let it get nice and hot.  Turn it on medium until it begins to sizzle.

And I’ll just pause here for a second to say thank you, Will!  Look at the new wooden countertop you made and the old green one in the background.  I like the new one soo much!  Many thanks to you for building it and Dad for installing it!

OK.  Back to the fish . . .

DSC_0120Place the fish seasoned-side-down in the hot oil.

Then begin putting the spice mix on the other side.  Again, use your fingers to press the spices gently onto the fish.

DSC_0122Fish cooks pretty quickly.  Small tilapia filets need about four minutes on one side.  Then you do four minutes on the other.  You’ll be able to see the fish go from a grayish color to a nice white when it is done.

DSC_0125Remove from the skillet and serve immediately.

DSC_0173Green beans and cheesy risotto made nice side dishes.

It’s tricky to find many leftovers in our fridge with you hungry boys.  I have managed to have a piece or two of this fish, however, and it reheats well when baked on foil in the toaster oven.  You might enjoy making a little extra and having some for lunch the next day.

Know that I love you,




















One response to “Blackened Tilapia

  1. Pingback: Will’s First Trip to the Grocery | Teaching My Boys to Cook·

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