My wife is a BIG Fan of Tilapia and an even BIGGER Fan of me doing the cooking on the grill.
One of the things that I found out about grilling Tilapia is that you lose most of the flavors that you add to the Tilapia through the grill grate. So, I came up with this idea of putting the Tilapia in a pouch to keep all of the flavors together and it saves time by not really needing to either marinate or brine the Tilapia.
Grilling basically steams the Tilapia and infuses all of the great flavors that we like into the fish. You keep the flavors with the Tilapia as it cooks and when you turn the fish over in the pouch you avoid having to scrape the fish off of the grill grates (even if you oil them like I do).
When you take that pouch off of the grill and open it, those flavors kick your taste buds into high gear and you are in store for a wonderful Tilapia meal.
Here is what you will need to make my Grilled Tilapia in a Pouch:
3 whole Tilapia – cleaned (OR 6 cleaned Tilapia fillets)
1 medium Vidalia or red onion
1 or 2 Large Lemons or Lemon Juice
6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed
Kosher Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
6 aluminum sheets, approximately 14 by 14 inches
Heat grill to medium-high heat.
Rinse Tilapia and pat dry including the cavity if you’re grilling it whole.
Slice onion into six or eight 1/8-inch rings, and set aside.
If using a whole Lemon then slice lemon also into six or eight 1/8-inch rings, remove seeds and set aside then squeeze the Juice from the remaining lemons and set that aside as well.
Rub Olive Oil generously all over the Tilapia, including a generous amount in the cavity.
Rub 1 clove of crushed garlic over the Tilapia and inside the cavity.
Place 1 whole Tilapia (or 2 fillets) in the center of the aluminum foil then season the outside and inside (or both sides of the fillets) with Salt and Ground Pepper to taste. A Light sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper will kick it up a notch.
Place Onion, a crushed Garlic clove and a couple of Lemon Slices (or Lemon Juice) inside the cavity or between the fillets.
Drizzle the outside of the Tilapia generously with remaining Lemon Juice. Fold aluminum foil around fish to create a sealed package. Repeat for each Tilapia.
How long you grill the Tilapia will depend on how big the Tilapia or fillets are. Place packets on hot 350 degree grill for 5 to 6 minutes on each side turning the packets over one or two times during the grilling. If using Fillets then only cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Remove fish from foil and serve immediately.
Note: To add another dimension of flavor to the Tilapia, place a pat of butter in the cavity before folding in the aluminum foil.
Karen’s Oven Baked Tilapia
6 Tilapia fillets
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
Fresh ground peppercorns
4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Using a medium (preferably non-stick) baking sheet, spray or brush the EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) where the Tilapia fillets will be placed.
Carefully place the fillets on the baking sheet, flat side down and gently brush the remainder of the EVOO on the tops of the Tilapia fillets.
Next, brush the fresh lime juice over the tops of the fish fillets. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. of paprika, just a shake of Cayenne powder and a couple of twists of fresh ground peppercorns over the tops of the fish fillets.
Put in the center oven and bake, about 6-7 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned. If the Tilapia fillets are not getting cooked evenly then rotate the pan and bake an additional 2-4 minutes or until completely done.
Karen’s Note: Serve with my Mango and Jalapeno Salsa (recipe below) over the top and along with some fresh steamed veggies. My picture shows a serving suggestion of some baby carrots, steamed for about 10-12 minutes (or until fork tender). In the last 2-3 minutes of steaming I added some Kale leaves for a healthier vegetable that compliments this spicy, yet tasty, baked fish.
Karen’s Mango and Jalapeno Salsa
1 ripe, but firm mango, peeled, seeded and diced
1/8 cup red pepper, seeded and diced
1/8 cup small Vidalia or sweet onion, diced
3 Tbsp. Tamed Mezzetta’s sliced jalapenos, drained and diced
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.
Serve this tasty spicy and sweet Mango and Jalapeno Salsa over the Oven Baked Tilapia.
Karen’s Note: This salsa can be made ahead of time: Fresh Mango and Jalapeno Salsa can be stored chilled for a day or two, prior to serving. It is also a great topping for our Key West Grilled Chicken Breasts or Egg and Potato Frittatas (recipe posting soon).
8 frozen (thawed) or fresh Tilapia fillets
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large lemon, sliced into 16 wedges
8 tsp. olive oil
Non-stick cooking spray
Apple wood chips or chunks soaked in water 2 hours
Generously brush both sides of each Tilapia fillet with olive oil. Sprinkle each fillet with garlic powder. Generously top each fillet with about 3-4 tsp. Italian bread crumbs and sprinkle 1-2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese over each fillet top, as well.
Line a grilling pan (preferably one with holes) with heavy duty aluminum foil and to keep the Tilapia from sticking to the cooking surface cover with a non-stick cooking spray. With a fork poke a few holes in foil where the holes are, so the smoke can get through to the fillets. Sprinkle a pinch of Cayenne pepper over each Tilapia fillet and line all eight fillets on pan leaving some space between the fillets.
For outdoor smoking: Set your grill for Indirect Grilling and add your soaked apple wood to the coals or in your smoke box. (Frank’s Tip: If using a smoke box then add the apple wood about 5 minutes, before placing the Tilapia on the grill so that they will begin to smoke). Smoke the Tilapia for 25 to 30 minutes at about 275° F, add extra apple wood as needed to maintain the smoke. The fish is done when it flakes easily to the touch or the internal temp of the largest fillet is about 145° F .
Remove the pan from the grill and set in an oven or under an aluminum foil tent for about 5 minutes to rest before serving.
Frank’s Note: This is a brainstorm recipe, because I always like to come up with new ways to grill or smoke fish. Our family really likes fish with apple wood smoke topped with Parmesan cheese and the seasonings that leave a light brown “crust” on top.
Karen’s Note: Serve the Smoked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia fish fillets with two lemon wedges and your favorite side dishes. Garlic Couscous and Steamed Vegetables are shown in picture.
Always reinventing myself by creating new recipes or craft ideas. All photos are genuine. Please send me an email or recipe you liked or tried.