So far, my former fish-hating husband is loving tilapia, so I wanted to come up with something new to do with it. My goal is to get his belly happy with all things tilapia so when I add a new type of fish into the weekly menu he’ll trust me and be willing to go with it.
That’s the plan at least.
So, knowing that one of his favorite snacks is pretzels, I got an idea that it would be a good coating to fish. So I put it on the menu plan, without having any clue what I would exactly do.
The entire week (not an exaggeration), I thought off and on to how I would coat the fish with the pretzels. I knew I would grind them up in my awesome-amazing-birthday-gift food processor…but what else? I thought about how I like my soft pretzels with mustard. So I considered making a mustard sauce and drizzling it on top. And then I thought I would make a mustard dip for us to dip our fish in (would that work? tilapia tends to fall apart easily).
But, suddenly it came to me! In my refrigerator I had a bottle of spicy brown mustard that was, well, a wee bit too spicy for my liking. I put it on a sandwich one day and used my typical amount of mustard and it was just TOO much. Pretty much ruined the sandwich for me.
Maybe I could mix this spicy brown mustard with some light mayonnaise and coat the fish in that before dipping it in the pretzels?
Well, that’s what I did!
Pretzel Encrusted Tilapia
2 pounds tilapia fish fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
8 oz pretzels (I used mini twists, but I suppose sticks or large twists would work fine – 8 oz worked out to be about 2 cups crushed pretzel crumbs for me)
1. Prepare a baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a food processor, pulse pretzels until they are close to breadcrumb consistency. Place crumbs in a shallow dish or bowl (should have enough room to lay a piece of fish in the crumbs without too much crowding).
3. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise and mustard.
4. Take a fillet and using a basting brush, coat one side of the fish with the mayonnaise/mustard mix. Place fish, mayonnaise/mustard side DOWN, into crushed pretzels. Press fish down slightly, if necessary, to help the crumbs adhere. Then, with fish still resting in the crushed pretzels, carefully coat the top side of the fish with the mayonnaise/mustard mix. Turn fish over so the side that was just covered with mayo/mustard mix is now being coated with pretzels. Press fish down slight (if necessary) to help pretzel crumbs adhere to this second side.
5. Remove fillet from crumbs and place fish on baking pan. Repeat with remaining fillets. Give a light spray of cooking spray to the tops of the fish that are on the baking pan.
6. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until thickest part is opaque and flakes easily. Note: Be sure to watch – how long it takes to cook depends on how thick your fish is. You could also check the temp in the thickest part of the fish with a meat thermometer. It should have an internal temp of 145 degrees F.
Now for my review: I really liked it and so did the rest of the fish-eating family – I would definitely make this again. The flavor was very pretzel-ly (imagine that), so if you don’t really care for pretzels, you might not like this. It was also pretty mild in flavor (which was fine by us), but if you like to spice things up, you might want to add your choice of spices to the pretzel crumbs. I also got to thinking that using a different ratio of mayo to mustard would work well too. I might experiment in the future with little to no mayo and use just the spicy brown mustard. If you do try something different, I would love to hear about it.
Soon I’ll venture into cooking other types of fish. I want to try cooking salmon, halibut, and catfish. Mattie mention that we should cook cod – I’m sure he heard it mentioned on some cooking show and it stuck in his head. And he wants me to make old-fashioned fish and chips. His request.