Oven Fried Tilapia Cakes with a Secret Ingredient
I had such a wonderful birthday weekend! My family and I traveled to my home town for the weekend. It was more of a work trip for my husband since he had some students participating in an honor band at the local university. It was so fun for me to watch him work at the same college where we attended as students. He even got to guest lecture a music class taught by the man who taught him while he was student teaching!
On Friday, the University's own Pride of Dixie Marching Band gave their President's Concert: Some of our old friends and some of my husband's former students participated in the concert, and they all did an amazing job! If you are close to a university, I highly recommend attending band concerts and theater productions. Often, they are professional quality for way less than you'd pay at a symphony or on Broadway. It makes a pretty good date night if I do say so myself!
After the concert, we went to a late dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, City Hardware. I love the atmosphere of that place! It overlooks the main downtown street and is filled with old fixtures and reclaimed wood. They had live entertainment, who happened to be another former student. I'm telling you, if you don't know the name Rachel Wammack now, you will soon. (Visit her website here.) This girl is an amazing singer/songwriter. You should definitely check out her album "Lavender" on iTunes (Track number one is my favorite!!).
As we sat down to order, I was so excited. I had decided to give up my low carb diet for the weekend and fully enjoy all my favorite hometown foods, including City Hardware's crab cakes! I placed my order and anxiously awaited the arrival of my dish.
When it came to the table, I cut into it with my fork and took a bite.
It was good.
"Mine are better," I told my husband.
He took a bite.
"Yep. Much," he replied.
It's official, y'all. I've spoiled myself. I ate nearly every bite, but it just wasn't the same. I still highly recommend the restaurant, though. So much great food! When we got back home Sunday, I took some tipalia out of the freezer to thaw for Monday night's dinner. After the crab cakes from a few nights earlier, I was really craving these fish cakes.
When I've made them before, I've fried them, but that takes a lot of time that I'd rather not spend standing over a hot stove, especially when it's hot outside. I decided to oven fry them this time instead. I also threw a secret ingredient into the mix. I am always trying to get my family to eat more vegetables. What better way to get them to eat them than by hiding them inside a favorite meal? Believe it or not, there is an entire zucchini inside these bad boys! Even my zucchini-hatin' hubby couldn't tell. Wife Win!
4 tilapia fillets
quart-sized bag of pork rinds, crushed
additional crushed pork rinds for coating
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil spray (or cooking spray)
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Sprinkle tilapia with salt and pepper. Broil the tilapia for four minutes on each side. While the fish is cooking, shred the zucchini. I just use a cheese grater, and it works perfectly. I grate it directly onto a dish towel. Once the zucchini is grated, I pick up the whole dish towel and squeeze out as much juice from the zucchini as I can. It needs to be really dry in order for the cakes to hold their shape.
Combine the shredded zucchini, crushed pork rinds, and parmesan cheese. Gently fold in the tilapia fillets and add the eggs, stirring well to coat the mixture with the egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place the fish mixture into the fridge to cool. I usually leave it 5-10 minutes. Form the mixture into 2 inch balls and roll them in the crushed pork rinds. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten them slightly. Spray the tops with the olive oil. Bake at 375 for ten minutes, flip the cakes over, spray the other sides, and continue baking for ten more minutes.
One thing I will say for City Hardware is that they make a killer remoulade sauce. I looked up a few recipes to try to make my own, but I didn't have the required ingredients. I made up my own spicy sauce instead. I mixed up some mayonnaise, ketchup, a little mustard, a bunch of hot sauce, and some lemon juice. I stirred in some Tony's creole seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. I basically just mixed and added until it tasted the way I wanted. Apparently, it was pretty good, because my husband has requested that this sauce be a staple in our fridge for burgers and pretty much anything else.
I so enjoy taking my favorite dishes and making them healthy. It makes me feel like I am really taking care of my family!