Baked Tilapia Parmesan with Cherry Tomato Sauce is a great meal for those who are easing themselves into the Mediterranean Diet. It has the familiar flavors of eggplant parmesan the way we know it in America, but is also loaded with healthy fats, cherry tomatoes, garlic and capers. It is relatively inexpensive as fish go and can be made in about 30 minutes from start to finish. I love sheet pan recipes that are quick, easy and taste good!
This kind of breaded recipe often uses egg to hold it all together, but I simply dip the tilapia in some extra virgin olive oil and then into the bread crumb/parmesan mixture. The cherry tomato sauce is made in the pan with the fish so it is truly a one pan meal!
The most crucial part of this recipe is browning the top at the end of cooking. Once you have turned the oven on broil you will want to pay close attention as not to burn the top. The fish will continue cooking as the breading gets crispy and the mozzarella cheese melts and begins to brown a bit. This is when you want to take it out of the oven. If the fish isn’t done at this point, you can always finish it by returning to baking mode, but usually will be perfect once it has baked and then broiled.
As is the Mediterranean tradition, I would serve this with a few vegetable sides. The first time I made it I served it with a simple cucumber salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette and Sautéed Swiss chard with Garlic. The cherry tomatoes and will couple well with almost any salad or vegetable dish, I would just stay away from anything with cheese since there are already two cheeses in the baked tilapia.
Pour ¼ cup olive oil onto a sheet pan or casserole dish. Place the tilapia on top of the olive oil. Flip the fish in the olive oil until covered in oil.
Mix parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and paprika in a flat bowl. Press both sides of each oil covered fish filet into the cheese and crumb mixture. You want every part of the fish to be covered with the cheese and crumb mixture.
Place back on sheet pan.
In a small bowl, add halved cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, basil, capers and garlic. Mix well with a spoon.
Spoon the tomato mixture around the fish. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes. Take fish out of the oven. Cover the fish with mozzarella slices.
Put oven on broil. Cook for about 5 minutes more, watching carefully. You want the mozzarella to be melted and the topping to be crispy. Remove from oven making sure fish is cooked. Serve immediately.