Tilapia: The Fish without Flavor

We often post about food successes here at The Kitchen Minions, but today I am here to tell you about a failure.  I recently read an article online that said that tilapia is poised to become the chicken of the fish world, because it grows quickly and doesn’t taste like fish.  When I saw that our local grocery store was selling it for $3.99 a pound, I bought several bags and decided to see what I could do with it.  I tried several different approaches but failed to reach deliciousness every time.   I agree that tilapia doesn’t taste like fish, but for me, it doesn’t taste like anything.

 

lemon chicken-005

(not tilapia)

 

My first attempt was perhaps the nearest to success.  I simply seasoned the tilapia with salt and pepper and sautéed it for a few minutes on each side.  This was okay, but it wasn’t amazing.  My next few attempts proceeded from the assumption that breading the tilapia would make it better.  I started with a cornmeal base and added a number of different tasty herbs and spices, but each time they seemed to get lost on the way to the plate, and the result tasted like a bland mushy mess.  I tried breadcrumbs as well, and then I decided to get really creative and try quinoa.  That was perhaps the worst attempt of all, as the crunchiness of the quinoa made the bland mushy mess into a bland crunchy mess that took longer to eat.  Undeterred, I decided to try one more time, following a recipe originally designed for trout that had proven to be delicious in the past.  Again, I was left with a bland mushy mess.  It seems that for me, tilapia is a flavor black hole, overwhelming any attempts to season it.

 

Anyway, having failed again, I turn to you, Internet, to see if you have any advice.   Has anyone succeeded in making tilapia taste good? Perhaps I’m not adding enough spices to the breading?  Maybe I should just give up on breading and try to season the fish directly again?  Maybe I should stop spitballing and try an actual recipe?  Or maybe I should just give up on tilapia forever.  I’ve heard rumors that the fish has a somewhat checkered environmental record, so maybe it’s for the best.