Pan Seared Lemon Tilapia w/ Parmesan Pasta


I absolutely love the combination of acid/citrus to my seafood dishes. The bitter flavor of acids such as lemon, lime, or even wine, really enhances not only the taste, but the aromatic smell as well.


When you are pan searing, it is important to start your pan off when it is hot. Why? Because you want to start you caramelization action  right when you place your meat into your pan. This caramelization action will not only give your meat a nice golden color, but also a nice crispy taste and texture to it as well.

Also, it is important to allow the meat to rest on to the pan when it cooks . . . do not be tempted to lift up the meat and take a peak to see if it will done. No. Just leave it alone and let it cook to properly sear. How do you know when it is ready? Well, when your first put your meat onto your hot oiled pan, the meat will stick. However, you must leave it alone and allow the meat to naturally release and come loose from the pan by itself. If you start to smell burning or it looks a bit too dry, add in more oil or butter to the pan. Once the meat is able to move around when shaking the pan back and forth, you are not ready to flip the meat to the other to side.

As you will notice, there are bits of brown glaze stuck to the pan after searing. Do not fuss. This is flavor!! Simply do the deglazing method by adding in a cup of red or white wine, or broth, or water into the pan and cook over medium heat until the liquid begins to boil and dissolve the glaze. Add this deglazed liquid to your favorite soup, braise, or any cooking recipe that uses liquids for that extra flavor. If not, you can just cook the deglazed liquid down a bit more and brush or drizzle it on to your meat before serving. Happy Eating~ 🙂

Pan Seared Lemon Tilapia with Parmesan Pasta

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 pinches dried basil
  • 2 pinches dried cilantro
  • 2 pinches salt and ground black pepper

For the pasta:

  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 pinches garlic powder
  • 2 pinches dried basil
  • 2 pinches dried oregano
  • 2 pinches dried cilantro (optional)
  • 2 pinches salt and ground black pepper

1. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over medium heat, stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil. Cook the macaroni uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it is cooked through but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle both sides of the tilapia fillets with lemon juice, oregano, basil, cilantro, salt, and pepper, and lay the fillets in the heated skillet, making sure they don’t touch. Sear the fillets for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until the fish is golden brown on the outside, and opaque and flaky inside.

3. Return the hot, cooked macaroni to the saucepan, and stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat the pasta. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, stir to mix, and stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, the garlic powder, basil, oregano, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Divide the pasta between four plates, and top each with a tilapia fillet.

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