Dinner during the week can be hard. Impossible even.
With the million miles a minute lives almost all of us lead, whether we have kids, a demanding job or just a busy life in general (or all of the aforementioned!), getting a healthy, impressive dinner on the table in a decent amount of time can seem like a giant leap on most nights – even for someone like me who cooks for a living.
Of course there’s those “easy” ways out with box helper this, prepared store-bought that, or carry-out pizza, but none of those options reap the soul-satisfying benefits as a from-scratch home cooked meal. In light of that, I’ve made it my personal mission to come up with as many delicious, quick and easy weeknight dinners as possible, and this Crispy Tilapia Piccata is one of my very favorites.
While my husband and I are definitely red meat eaters, I try to keep the red meat we consume to a minimum, so lean meats like chicken and fish are something that consistently make an appearance on our weekly menus. I just love how versatile they can be, acting almost as a blank canvas for whatever creativity you’ve got up your sleeve. This dish is kind of a hybrid between one of my favorite classic Italian dishes, chicken piccata and a crispy Milanese.
Chicken or almost any white fish will work in this recipe, but I love tilapia for its ability to cook quickly, and its mild flavor (perfect for kids!). Each tilapia filet is first dredged in seasoned flour, then dunked into an egg and water mixture and finally coated in panko bread crumbs. After each coating, you really want to make sure to get all of the excess off, otherwise you can end up with quite the mess while cooking – an even, light coating of flour, egg and breadcrumbs will yield a perfectly crispy exterior. You could also absolutely use homemade or traditional bread crumbs, but I love how crispy panko bread crumbs get when seared, so I stick with those.
Once all the filets are breaded I heat a pan up with a little bit of butter and sauté the fish until the breadcrumbs are golden brown on both sides and the fish is almost all the way cooked through. (You don’t need to cook it all the way, as it will finish cooking in the sauce later.)
Each fish filet is transferred to the side and the hot pan is hit with a generous dousing of dry white wine. Once the wine has reduced slightly I add in a little bit of lemon juice and let it reduce one more time. At the last minute a handful of capers are thrown in along with a tablespoon or two of butter to finish the sauce off.
The fish goes back into the sauce to finish cooking for a few minutes, and dinner is done. Easy as can be.
What I love about this other than the fact that it comes together in under 30 minutes is that not only is perfect for crazy weeknights, but it’s beautiful and upscale enough to serve at dinner parties on the weekend – your friends will never know how easy it was! Just add in a crisp spinach salad, some roasted asparagus and a few loaves of crispy ciabatta bread and you’ve got quite an impressive meal.
Again, if your family isn’t into fish, chicken will work perfectly as well, if you family isn’t into tilapia, a cod, halibut or even salmon would be delicious as well. The possibilities are really endless when it comes to meals like these!
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup flour
- salt and pepper
- 1 egg + ¼ water whisked together
- 4 tilapia filets
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Place bread crumbs and flour on separate medium sized plates. Season each with salt and pepper.
- Coat filets in flour, pat off excess. Coat in egg mixture, shake off excess. Coat in bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the fish. Pat off excess.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet to a medium heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of butter.
- Add tilapia filets, cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook until other side is also golden brown, another 2-3 minutes. Until fish is cooked through and golden brown, transfer to a plate.
- Add white wine to the pan, reduce for 30 seconds. Add lemon juice. Cook another 30 seconds.
- Add remaining butter, stir with a spoon until combined.
- Add fish back to the pan and top with capers and parsley.