Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tropical Tilapia

Kokomo by The Beach Boys
I was listening to my Beach Boys playlist while getting ready the other day.  That's probably what started this whole post today.  I've never been to Kokomo but it reminds me of all the tropical places I have been.  I love summer where I live.  Not many people know about this desert portion of the state of Washington.  It likes to get really hot here in the summer.  And it's a dry heat!  It's been teetering around the 100s this week and that suits me just fine.  Nonetheless, listening to my Beach Boys has had me daydreaming about tropical breezes, ocean waves crashing against the shore, and the coco-nutty scent of suntan lotion.  It's had me reminiscing about vacations.

I had some errands to run yesterday and I scheduled the trip to Target for last on my list.  You might remember me telling you about my fondness for shopping at Costco.  I mentioned that I had other favorite stores for which I allotted prime real estate on my errand list - allowing for maximum "grazing" time.  Target is one of them.  I hate to just run in and out of Target.  There's so much that beckons to me to stay and visit awhile.  The red and white decor attracts my eye, their entry decorations are always appealing, and I can't wait to see what treasures I find in the dollar bins!  Target is trendy without being spendy!  We are the best of friends!

So, to cap off my running of errands, after a full morning of household chores, I treated myself to a luxuriously slow stroll through Target.  I found a new shirt I hadn't known I needed, a new razor I did know I needed, and various cleaning supplies - one of which was a much-needed new mop.

As I walked away from the cleaning section and on toward the checkout stands I noticed a lift in my step.  I was excited about something - as in "I can't wait to try this" excited!  Try what?  My new top?  The razor?  I looked over my basket and shock and horror set in when I realized that it was the MOP!!! I was EXCITED TO USE MY NEW MOP!  

Immediately, the song Kokomo started playing in my head and my inner southern girl slammed me with, "Girl, you need to get yourself some island time!"  (By the way, I LOVE my inner southern girl.  She gives the best advice EVER!  She sounds much like my friend Elizabeth - who is a true southern girl!)

Anyway ~ there is no trip to the tropics in the near future so I made sure my dinner tasted like I was there!  I had some tilapia filets waiting for me at home and they would be perfect for my foodie adventure.  I always use coconut flour to dust my tilapia filets - I like the slightly sweet flavor it lends to the preparation.  To take the tropic idea further this time, I loosened the egg wash with pineapple juice instead of water or milk and I added some crushed toasted coconut to the panko crumbs.  (Panko is a Japanese bread crumb and you'll find it in the Asian section of your supermarket or sometimes right next to regular bread crumbs.)  To complement the fish I made a fresh salsa using fresh pineapple, mango, green onions, and red bell pepper.  It was delish!  The mop is still waiting ~  

Tropical Tilapia with Pineapple Mango Salsa
printable recipe card
1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped small
1 fresh mango, chopped small
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 green onion, sliced very thin
4 tilapia filets, or other fish
salt and pepper
1/2 c. coconut flour, I use Bob's Red Mill
1 c. panko
1/4 c. toasted coconut, crushed
1 egg
2 T. pineapple juice, you can use the juices off the salsa

Prepare the salsa:
Place the chopped pineapple, mango, red bell pepper and green onions in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Be sure the pieces of red pepper are smaller than the other pieces of fruit or else the flavor of the bell pepper will overpower the other flavors.
Add a couple pinches of salt and toss.  The salt will balance all the sweet and savory flavors. Set aside.

Pat the fish filets dry and then season both sides with salt and pepper.  Whisk the egg with the pineapple juice and place in a shallow container such as a pie tin.  Place the coconut flour in it's own pie tin and mix the panko and toasted coconut in another tin.  Set up a coating station like this:
It's an assembly line!  The order for coating your fish is:
1)  Dredge the fish through the coconut flour and shake off the excess, making sure it is completely coated - both sides.
2)  Dip the filet in the egg wash - again, making sure it has coated the entire surface.
3)  Lay the filet in the crumb mixture, covering the filet completely with the crumbs, patting if necessary.
4)  Place completed filets on a parchment-lined sheet tray.
You can place them in the fridge at this point and cook them later if needed.

You don't need much fat at all to sauté these filets.  To keep the fat to a minimum I first spray my non-stick frying pan with cooking spray then drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil across the pan.  Heat the pan over medium heat and carefully add the coated filets.  Tilapia is a tender fish and cooks rather quickly.  Using a heat that's too high will burn the outside before the inside is ready.  Cook about 5 - 10 minutes each side.

Serve immediately with the salsa.  


  1. This is very pretty!

    1. Thank you! We eat with our eyes first and I try to keep the colors of my food appealing and interesting as well as delicious!

  2. Question: Is there a way that I can click on your recipe and it pops up as a recipe card- so it's easier to print out?

    1. So sorry! I am a bit behind in creating my printable recipe cards. I've made one up quick for you though! Hope it helps! I'll get cracking on the others on my "to do" list!

    2. Thank You so much!

  3. I've gotta try this recipe - it looks Fantabulous! I'm glad you got yourself some island time, girl! :)

    1. You know it! I hope you enjoy it! It's one of my favs because it tastes good and it's quick! Perfect summer combo!