Somehow we have managed to get our Little Chefs to LOVE fish. We only eat it a couple times a month. Maybe it is because our standby recipe is so wonderful! They also love Seared Mahi Mahi with Mango Sauce and Grilled Salmon. When Little Chef D saw a Bobby’s Baked Tilapia she immediately jumped at the opportunity to try it. This recipe seemed very much at her level. There is some prep work, but then it bakes in the oven. No flipping, turning, oil spitting at her or anything of the sort!
Little Chef D was SO excited to zest the lime. She knew exactly what to do. She knew she could do it all by herself. The green flakes reassured her that she was accomplishing her task. I think this was the best part of the recipe, in her eyes! She did comment, “This is going to take a long time. This is hard, I can’t do it.” What she really meant was, I had fun at the beginning, but now I’m done I don’t want to do it anymore so please take over this job. Yes, I am a mind reader!
Trouble came the first time when Little Chef D tried SO hard to juice the lime! She tried over and over holding the juicer different ways just to get SOME juice out. These type of juicers are not kid friendly! She wanted to take the first half of the lime out of the juicer. She made sure I wasn’t going to take that task away from her. When it came to the second half she decided her “hands were already sticky.” Either that meant it wasn’t as fun taking it out the first time as I thought, OR I really, really want to wash my hands lets hurry up and finish this step.
Next she seasoned the fillets with salt and pepper and lime zest. This was easy for her to do on the white fish because she could see the amount she was putting on. Not that she added more where there wasn’t any, but she had the option after I pointed it out to her. She is the boss for this one!
Little Chef D added the lime juice then put some butter onto each of the fillets. I placed it in the preheated oven for her. She isn’t ready for that job yet. Perhaps in a couple years!
She thought it was very odd that the butter, oh wait it was margarine, maybe that was the problem, did not melt and soak into the fillet. We put it under the broiler for a couple minutes and it was much better, the butter melted and the fish was more flaky. This picture was taken prior to broiling. Doesn’t it look funny! I forgot to take one afterward, oops! If I remembered we were cooking a Paula Deen inspired dish I would not have forgotten it always HAS to be butter, lots of butter!
Little Chef D’s play by play at the dinner table is always very amusing. Sometimes she gets the ingredients right, sometimes she is too excited to try it she says, “Mom you tell them.” They each ate it all until there was no more. Little Chef C commented on the texture of the fish because that is what her mind is fixated on at the moment. At least we are done with everything needing to taste like salt. I told them over and over the salt helped bring out the flavor of whatever they were adding it to which meant it did not need to taste like salt. I couldn’t seem to get that message across. Chef Robert Irvine did though, of course! My Little Chefs watched one of the Restaurant Impossible episodes and he said exactly the same thing I told them, but of course they believed him and now quote his line at almost every meal. Thanks Chef Robert!
By The Deen Brothers
- Butter cooking spray
- 4 (6 to 8-oun
ce) tilapia fillets
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 lime, finely grated zest and juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
Rinse fish and pat dry; place on the cast iron pan. Season each fillet with salt, cracked pepper, lime zest and lime juice. Add fish to the pan. Place a pat of butter on each fillet and cook in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes.