Sweet Chili Glazed & Walnut Crusted Tilapia & Grilled Zucchini Orzo

I haven’t been making a whole lot of new things lately, note the lack of recipes in recent posts. I figured I’d better get on it before I lose a reader who reads this just for the food ideas. Maybe that person exists. I decided to go all the way and do something new. Seafood. Jeff and my favorite fish is Halibut, and hooray, it’s Halibut season. But guess what, who can afford it right now for a measly Wednesday night dinner? Not us. So I settled for the real chicken of the sea, Tilapia. This is one of our favorite fish recipes. It’s sweet, spicy and easy. Tilapia is a very mild and affordable fish that’s available year round. The orzo was a successful off-the-cuff creation when I realized I didn’t have a concrete side dish plan and just a mish-mash of pantry items.

Sweet Chili Glazed and Walnut Crusted Tilapia

For Glaze:
3 Tablespoons honey
1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon warm water

For Crust:
1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/3 Cup ground walnuts (I ground them in food processor)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

2 tilapia fillets
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Place the honey, chili powder and warm water in a small bowl; mix to combine. Place crumbs, walnuts, salt, chili powder and pepper into a shallow dish; mix to combine. Season both sides of tilapia fillets with pinches of salt and pepper. With a pastry brush, brush honey glaze on both sides of tilapia then press into crumb mix. Continue until all fillets are coated.

2. Heat oil into a large skillet over medium heat. When hot place coated tilapia fillets into skillet; cook 2-4 minutes per side, until golden brown and fish flakes easy with a fork. Remove and serve warm.

Note: It’s not easy to keep the fish “pretty” while frying them up. You should use your thinnest spatula to flip the fish, and since there isn’t an egg wash, the breading doesn’t stick all that well. I just thought you should know, and not feel like a failure when a quarter of the crust falls off into the fry pan.

Serves: 2

Recipe adapted from: Picky Palate

Grilled Zucchini Orzo

1 medium-large zucchini quartered length-wise
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

1 cup orzo pasta
1 14.5 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup onion finely diced
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
zest and juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1. Brush olive oil over all sides of the zucchini quarters. Salt and pepper evenly. Place on grill flesh side down over medium-high flame. Grill 3-4 minutes and flip once to the other flesh side, grilling 3-4 more minutes. Remove and let stand a few minutes until it’s cool enough to touch. Slice into a large dice. Set aside and keep warm.

2. Pour chicken broth into a medium sauce pan and bring to a soft rolling boil. Add orzo and gently boil for about 5-6 minutes (check package directions). Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in small skillet. Add onions and saute until softened. Once orzo is cooked, drain and return to pot. Add onions, remaining olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, almonds, salt and pepper to orzo. Stir well to combine. Gently mix in zucchini and leave orzo over low heat for a few minutes until warmed.

Serves: 2

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3 Responses to “Sweet Chili Glazed & Walnut Crusted Tilapia & Grilled Zucchini Orzo”


  1. 1 Anonymous May 9, 2009 at 2:12 am

    What isle might one find Panko Breadcrumbs? I did not see them near the “regular” breadcrumbs. The teenage stock boys at Publix are not that bright.

  2. 2 Emily Anderson May 9, 2009 at 11:52 am

    They actually should be near the regular bread crumbs. Sometimes they are in a box, sometimes in a plastic tub. However, in some supermarkets they are shelved in the Asian foods if your particular store has such an aisle. If all else fails, you could use regular bread crumbs the resulting texture just won’t be as coarse and crunchy.

  3. 3 Chanda May 26, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight – not a hit with the kids, but Damon and I enjoyed it. Thanks!


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