Sauteed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce

by Cate on January 15, 2008

Turn on your printer and fire it up, because I promise you that if you eat fish, you’re going to want to print this recipe and make it. Soon. Like tonight.

If you would have told me last year that I’d be eating tilapia, I probably would have laughed. I’ve always avoided fish, sticking with only cod and shellfish. Give me a raw oyster any day over a more “fishy fish.” Over the past year though, I’ve been branching out a bit and now love salmon (certain ways), haddock, flounder and tilapia.

We went to a holiday party this weekend at a restaurant and one of their offerings was a tilapia with a BuerreBlanc sauce. The dish was out of this world, and after seeing tilapia on sale this week for $3.99/lb, I set off to find a good recipe for it. Cooking Light bulletin board members came to my rescue and one of the suggestions was this recipe for Sauteed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce. OMG, this is a must-make recipe and we will definitely be enjoying this one for years to come, earning its rightful place of honor in the OMG recipe section.

The Husband worked super-late last night and missed dinner, and it was all I could do to save him his portion, because it.was.that.good. What’s more, it was incredibly simple to make, and ready to eat in about 20 minutes. When you can make food this good, this quickly, and this healthy, there is no reason to eat out. When I woke up this morning, The Husband asked, “What did you put on that fish?” I braced myself and told him a few of the ingredients and said that he was lucky I saved him some. He could see why, and loved it.

The only major change I made to the recipe was to nix the peppercorns and use capers instead. I thought the salt of the capers would work well with the lemon juice and other ingredients and I was right. I also used a pound of tilapia (doubling the amount called for), but kept the rest of the ingredients at the same measurements, so that ends up cutting the fat and calories in the nutritional content at the bottom in half for each serving. Even better!

Go make this fish.

A year ago today … delicious Nacho Bread Pizza.
Two years ago today … coincidentally, one of my favorite ways to eat salmon.

Sautéed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Pam Anderson, Cooking Light, MARCH 2004

This piquant sauce is perfect over plain white fish. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the brightest flavor. Serve with white rice.

3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons drained brine-packed green peppercorns, lightly crushed (I used capers instead)
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vegetable oil (I skipped)
2 (6-ounce) tilapia or sole fillets (I used a lb of fish, four fillets)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons butter
Lemon wedges (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter with oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. While butter melts, sprinkle fish fillets with salt and black pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour; shake off excess flour.

Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until butter turns golden brown. Add fillets to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fillets from pan. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in two teaspoons of butter with a whisk. Serve sauce over fillets. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and 2 tablespoons sauce)

CALORIES 282(26% from fat); FAT 8.3g (sat 3.2g,mono 2g,poly 2.1g); PROTEIN 35g; CHOLESTEROL 92mg; CALCIUM 43mg; SODIUM 739mg; FIBER 0.8g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.3g

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm

I agree with you, Cate! This is an excellent recipe and so easy! The Pecan Crusted Tilapia from CL is also pretty good.


Sarah Caron January 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Where were you yesterday when I needed you?!? LOL. I tried to make a blood orange tilapia (don’t try this at home, folks) and it was BLECH. It seemed like such a good idea at the time too . . .


Sorina January 15, 2008 at 11:13 pm

Great photos…this looks delicious ! :-)


Claire January 16, 2008 at 1:09 am

I LOVE tilapia and this looks great!!! Tilapia is my favorite and whenever it’s on sale, I grab some up!


Karen January 16, 2008 at 11:29 pm

You’ve convinced me to give tilapia another try. This recipe looks fantastic. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, Test Drive Kitchen. I’m looking forward to checking out your kitchen adventures, too!



travis December 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm

just made this with capers over couscous and a side of asparagus sautéed in olive oil with salt and pepper.. DELICIOUS!


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