Pepita Encrusted Tilapia on Top of a Lightly Flavored Rice

Tilapia is a staple with both Julie and I for many reasons; it is a mild flavored fish that lends itself well to making it various ways, our kids love it, it is economical and it cooks fast. Toasted salted pepitas are great for snacking and like nuts make a great crust. In a nut shell pepitas are baby pumpkin seeds. The seeds remind me of when I was a little girl and we would visit Mexico. Instead of having a peanut vendor on the corner of the street, they would have a pepita vendor. They would be toasting the seeds right there on the street then would pour a scoop of them into a cone shaped paper container for you to purchase. Do buy the avocados and the limes, because they really complete the meal. Ingredient amounts serve four.


4 tilapia filets about 1 lb. total weight
1 cup of crushed roasted and salted pepitas
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of a red or yellow onion diced
1 cup of rice (not minute)
2 cans of 99% fat free chicken broth
1/2 cup of tomatoes diced
4 sprigs of cilantro, stems removed and minced
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 avocados peeled, pitted and sliced
2 limes cut into wedges
Sprinkle of kosher salt


Make rice, by heating vegetable oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add rice and sauté until slightly browned. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, cilantro and salt. Stir, cover and lower heat to simmer or low. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Once rice is almost ready, crush pepitas using a chopper or a blender if you want finer crumbs. Rinse and drain filets. Firmly pat each filet into crushed pepitas on both sides. Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat and add fillets to the skillet. Cover. Turn once brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat until second sides are golden brown. If dealing with a larger filet, extend cooking times. Place rice onto a plate, top with tilapia and garnish with sliced avocado and lime wedges. Squeeze lime wedges over fish and avocado and sprinkle a little bit of kosher salt over the avocado and dig in!

Suggested Beverage

Try Excelsior Chardonnay (South Africa), Sincerity Chardonnay Organic Wine (Chile), Corona (Mexico) with a wedge of lime or Samuel Adams® Summer Ale (Boston, MA).

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