For some unbeknownst reason, my parents insist on buying pre-made stuffed fish dinners from the grocery store. No idea why. The fish is always flavorless, no one seems to like them, but yet they’re consistently in our freezer waiting to be baked. It’s one of life’s biggest mysteries that I stubbornly refuse to eat. Yes, I’ll admit that refusing to eat them is pretty snobby of me…but when they’re so easy to make from scratch (and 1000x better), it’s kind of hard to not be a little stuck up about it. When it’s homemade you’re able to mix together great flavors and textures instead of just baking a flavorless mush blob from the store.
So, last night I decided to make crab stuffed tilapia. It looks way fancier than it actually is, so don’t worry about making this recipe if you’re a beginner cook. As the oven preheats, saute some veggies butter. The veggies give the recipe some textural interest and make it enjoyable to eat (unlike the bland pre-made filets with the texture of baby food that I mentioned earlier haha). Mix in a few simple seasonings, some crab meat (duh), and cheese, before plopping a scoop on top of each filet. Sprinkle with a pinch of panko (for a carby crunch) and then bake. See, isn’t that easy?
Oh, and before everyone gets up in arms about using cheese with seafood, get over it haha. Cheese and crab and tilapia is fantastic! It makes you feel like you’re indulging a little when in actuality, this recipe is pretty healthy. The crunch from the panko and veggies helps you appreciate the creaminess of the cheese/crab, so don’t forget it!
**Feel free to use flaked crab meat. Since you mix everything together, jumbo crab meat would just flake apart anyway. So get flaked and save some money! Oh! And drizzle with a little hot sauce at the end…I love the hot sauce/cheese/crab combo. :) **
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup celery (diced)
1/2 cup red bell pepper (diced)
1/4 cup red onion (diced)
1 garlic clove
6 oz crab meat (drained)
2 teaspoon ranch dressing
1 teaspoon spicy mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup cheddar jack cheese (shredded)
4 tilapia filets
4 teaspoon panko
Salt/pepper/chili powder/garlic powder, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter. Add celery, red pepper, and onion to the pan. Grate in garlic, add a pinch of salt/pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly tender. Turn off heat. Mix in the crabmeat, chili powder, mustard, ranch, and shredded cheese.
Put the tilapia filets on a greased baking sheet. Liberally season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder. Place a scoop of the crabmeat mixture on each filet. Sprinkle each filet with approximately 1 teaspoon of panko bread crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for around 15 minutes, or until cooked.
Serve and enjoy!