Creamy Broiled Tilapia

dsc_0157RECIPE #401, DAY #573


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Tilapia Parmesan,” from Phoebe at, although I was originally given this recipe by word of mouth from a friend, when I begged her for it after she served it to us for dinner*

TIMING: 20 minutes


TOOLS: Small baking pan


HEALTH: Well, it would behoove most of us to have more fish in our diet. But slathering it with butter and mayo? Not the brightest idea. And yet, this sauce makes an otherwise unappealing (to many people, including kids) food much more palatable. So without it, they might not eat it at all. I dunno. I served it with a whole grain and green veggies, so I think we ended up the better for it.

dsc_0159EXPERIENCE: I used to have a friend who we were close enough to that we would eat at each other’s house for dinner about once a week. One week, she pulled this dubious combination of fish, cheese, and mayonaise out of the oven, covered in foil and still spluttering bits of browned grease. One bite in, and I was asking for the recipe.

It has proven, over the years, to be a fool-proof way to get non-fish people to eat fish, including my kids.

NOTES: Tilapia can have a sort of fishy, musty taste, which this sauce counters with its saltiness and strength. It is affordable and available, however, with makes it ideal for family fish night.

It occurs to me that this would be best broiled and served in 4 individual ramekins.


  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Lightly butter a small baking dish (just big enough to hold your tilapia in 1 layer). Line 1 pound tilapia in the pan, placing pretty side down, and salt on both sides.
  3. In a small pan, melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon basil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/8 teaspoon celery salt. Set aside.
  4. Broil the fish for 3 minutes. With tongs, carefully flip the fish over and broil another 3 minutes. Remove from oven and spread the sauce evenly over the tilapia, keeping it on top of the fish. Work quickly.
  5. Broil 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve right away.


Serve with a green vegetable and a whole grain, like Broccoli with Mustard Butter Sauce and Wild Rice Salad.

LEFTOVER IDEAS: I do not keep fish or shellfish leftover.

*Recipe changed from the original.



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