8 frozen (thawed) or fresh Tilapia fillets
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Romano cheese
1 large lemon, sliced into 8 slices
8 pats of butter
Kosher sea salt, ground
Fresh peppercorns, ground
Non-stick cooking spray (optional)
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Apple wood chips or chunks soaked in water for at least 2 hours, beforehand, if you plan to smoke the fish. (optional)
Generously brush both sides of each Tilapia fillet with olive oil then sprinkle with freshly ground sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle each filet generously with garlic powder and grated Parmesan Romano cheese (here, you can also add the cayenne pepper to “kick the flavor and spice of the Tilapia fillets up a notch”).
Line an oblong baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil to keep the tilapia from sticking to the cooking surface or use regular foil prepared with non-stick cooking spray. Place a slice of lemon then a filet of Tilapia on it and then top it off with a pat of butter. Do this for all eight fillets leaving at least ½ inch between the fillets.
For outdoor smoking: Set your grill for Indirect Grilling and add your soaked apple wood to the coals or in your smoke box. (Tip, if using a smoke box then add the apple wood about 5 minutes, before placing the Tilapia on the grill so that they will begin to smoke). Smoke the Tilapia for 25 to 30 minutes at about 275° F, add extra apple wood as needed to maintain the smoke. The fish is done when it flakes easily to the touch or the internal temp of the largest filet is about 145° F .
Remove from the grill and set in an oven or under an aluminum foil tent for about 5 minutes to rest before serving.
Frank’s Note: This is a brainstorm recipe, because I always like to come up with new ways to grill or smoke fish. Our family enjoys the Grilled Tilapia in a Pouch, however we also like fish with apple wood smoke and you can’t get the smoke inside a closed pouch very well and the seasonings and Parmesan cheese aren’t a light brown “crust” on top.
Karen’s oven grilling: After Tilapia fillets are laid on the oblong baking pan and readied for cooking then put into oven pre-set for 400° F bake about 10 to 12 minutes, until the fish is opaque in the thickest part, or the internal temp of the largest filet reaches about 145° F. The garlic and cheese mixture on top will become a light brown “crust”.
Serve the Grilled Parmesan Crusted Tilapia fish fillets with the lemon slices and your favorite side dish/es.