This baked tilapia recipe went from plain to fantastic with an easy arugula walnut pesto topping. Healthy and packed with flavor!
Okay, this story doesn’t actually have anything to do with baked tilapia or arugula walnut pesto, but it was a story that needed to be told.
“Aaahh-ooooo, aaahh-ooooo…” This sound drifted from our backyard nearly every day last week. On the first day, I cautiously peeked out the back door, prepared to see a coyote sitting on the corner garden bed mound. To my surprise (though, really, I shouldn’t be surprised anymore), all I saw was my 7-year old (T) standing in the middle of the yard, head thrown back, howling with abandon.
“What are you up to, T?”
“Oh. Hi, Mum. I’m just trying to attract a bigfoot.”
“Okaaay. What are you going to do if one actually shows up?”
“Well, don’t worry. I won’t let him inside or anything. Maybe we could lock him in the garage until the people from Finding Bigfoot get here. You know, that show on Animal Planet.”
Silence. I really need to monitor those Animal Planet shows more closely.
“Umm, okay. Well, have fun. And make sure you plan an escape route.”
I hopped on Twitter to report T’s latest escapades and received responses, such as “Cool! I live in Bigfoot country in Canada” and “Give that boy a camera!” Apparently T isn’t the only Bigfoot fan out there.
Ten minutes of concerted howling later.
“Mum, Mum! I just saw something big and hairy walking through the trees in the back field.”
“Are you sure that wasn’t our odd neighbor from down the street?”
“No, Mum. It really was a bigfoot. I just know it!”
Life is rarely dull around here.
From leprechaun traps to Bigfoot, our days are heavily steeped in mythical creatures. I only hope the Easter Bunny doesn’t have something up his furry sleeve.
It takes no more than five minutes to whip up this pesto. However, if you are really pressed for time, feel free to substitute this arugula pesto with your favorite store-bought variety.
In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, briefly pulse arugula leaves. Add chopped, toasted walnuts and minced garlic.
Pulse several time until mixture is finely chopped, but still with some texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add finely grated Parmesan cheese, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
With the motor running, slowly pour in extra-virgin olive oil and run until combined.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
Lay the tilapia fillets in the baking dish and spread 1 1/2 tablespoons pesto on top of each fillet. Season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper and divide the breadcrumbs evenly between the fillets.
Bake until the tilapia is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve.
Other tilapia recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Fish Tacos with Creamy Green Chile & Cilantro Sauce
Pham Fatale’s Breaded Tilapia (Nori Crusted Fish)
Greedy Gourmet’s Tilapia with a Peanut Crust & Chinese Dressing
Chase Blackwell’s Grilled Tilapia with Charred Sweet Corn Relish
Baked Tilapia Recipe with Arugula Walnut Pesto & Breadcrumb Crust
- In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, briefly pulse arugula leaves. Add chopped, toasted walnuts and minced garlic.
- Pulse several time until mixture is finely chopped, but still with some texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add finely grated Parmesan cheese, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- With the motor running, slowly pour in extra-virgin olive oil and run until combined.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
- Lay the tilapia fillets in the baking dish and spread 1½ tablespoons pesto on top of each fillet.
- Season breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Top the tilapia with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake until the tilapia is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve.
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