Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

A quick dinner recipe featuring golden tilefish with a spicy breadcrumb topping. Try it with any white fish fillets including cod, tilapia, flounder, snapper, bass, croaker, halibut or grouper.

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I found some interesting info about golden tilefish on NOAA’s Fish Watch website. “The saying ‘you are what you eat’ rings true for this fish – they mainly feed on crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs, and people often describe the tilefish’s sweet flavor as similar to crab or lobster.”

To be honest, I can’t remember if that was true of our tilefish—but it sure was tasty. The next time I make tilefish, I’ll confirm whether it really does taste similar to lobster or crab. It’s a mild white fish with firm flesh. Most of the recipes I found either roasted or broiled the fish—my recipe here calls for roasting.

Golden Tilefish | Grabbing the Gusto

I flipped the fillet over so you could see both sides.
Golden Tilefish | Grabbing the Gusto

Tilefish is sometimes called “the clown of the sea” due to its iridescent stripes, white bellies, pink faces and blue under the eyes. I’m guessing they’re called tilefish because their skin looks like a mosaic of white tiles with greenish-brown grout. They burrow into the mud and sand sentiment in the bottom or sides of submarine canyons. Their burrows in canyon walls are called “pueblos” because they look like the pueblo communities of Native Americans in the southwestern United States.

Compared to other fish, tilefish live long lives, up to 50 years! Their average size at harvest is about two feet. Although most tilefish is caught by longline, my tilefish was caught the same way you and I fish, assuming you fish—pole and line.

When I saw tilefish’s flavor described as similar to crab, I decided to put one of my new spice blends to work—Obis One’s New Bay 33. This is Obis One’s, a black garlic farm, play on Old Bay. It includes black garlic and 32 other ingredients. The New Bay definitely took what could have been a ho-hum breadcrumb topping to a higher, tastier level.

New Bay Golden Tilefish recipe | Grabbing the Gusto

New Bay Golden Tilefish | Grabbing the Gusto

New Bay Golden Tilefish

You’ll need a small bowl and a foil-lined baking sheet or pan.

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon New Bay 33 seasoning or Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 pound tilefish fillets, or any white fish fillets such as cod, tilapia, flounder, snapper, bass, croaker, halibut or grouper — just be sure to adjust cooking time for thinner fillets
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. In a small bowl, combine butter, 1/2 tablespoon New Bay 33, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.

Line a baking sheet or pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place fillets on pan, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon New Bay 33, salt and pepper. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until done.

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