Tilapia Tacos with Basil Yogurt Sauce

I really had no idea what I was going to make for dinner last night.  I had defrosted tilapia from the freezer the night before and had gotten carried away in the late afternoon making my first batch of Curried Lentil Soup from a recipe I found in Bon Appetit (I had actually never even eaten lentil soup before, but this was really great).  I had 3 fish fillets and about 20 minutes (sounds almost like a Food Network Challenge), and I came up with a surprisingly tasty fish taco recipe.  Even C was surprised at how much he could enjoy a recipe that was based around tilapia, which definitely has a tendency to be bland.  

According to my mom, who seems to know about everything trendy before I do, fish tacos are popular these days.  I'm not surprised, as I seem to discover recipes for breaded fish everywhere, including Giada's Fish Sticks with Marinara, Gwyneth's Fish Tacos, and Ina's Panko-Crusted Salmon.  These three recipes inspired me to come up with my own fish taco recipe, where you cook the fish under the broiler instead of frying it in oil (saving you literally hundreds of calories) and serve it over a bed of spinach, tomato, and onions.  The fish is crispy and flavorful thanks to the panko breadcrumbs and Dijon-yogurt coating underneath.

I love the fresh whole wheat tortillas they sell in packs of 6 at Whole Foods, but you can certainly use corn tortillas.  They also sell some good low-carb tortillas at Trader Joe's that are only 45 calories each and pack some extra protein.  I used toppings that were in my refrigerator, including leftover caramelized onions that I had made for the Turkey Burgers the night before and ingredients that I keep on hand for salads.  I came up with the Basil Yogurt Sauce because I had fresh basil in the house, but feel free to experiment with different fresh herbs or finely diced scallions.

Tilapia Tacos  (Makes 6 tacos)    
3 Tilapia fillets, fresh or thawed, cut into about 12 equal pieces
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat, but 2% works too)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Tortillas, whole wheat or corn
Toppings: I used spinach, cherry tomatoes, and onions, but feel free to try different combinations of vegetables

Basil Yogurt Sauce
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of half of a lemon
4 basil leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the broiler to high.

1. Cut your 3 tilapia fillets into approximately 12 pieces that are about the same size.  You want them to be equal so that their cooking time is the same.

2.  Set up a breading station that has the following: 1) a plate with the Dijon mustard and yogurt mixed together, 2) a plate of breadcrumbs that you sprinkle with salt and pepper, and 3) a baking pan lined with parchment.

3. Dip each piece of fish into the Dijon-yogurt mixture first and coat all sides.  Then, coat all sides of the piece of tilapia with the bread crumb mixture and place it on the prepared pan.  When you've finished coating all the pieces, drizzle the tops of the fish with approximately 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

4.  Broil the fish for about 3 minutes on the first side, until the breadcrumbs start to brown.  Pull the pan out and flip each piece of fish over to the other side.  Then cook another 2-3 minutes, until the other side is brown and crispy and the fish flakes with a fork.  

5.  Prepare the Basil Yogurt Sauce while the fish is cooking.  Chiffonade the basil leaves, which just means to stack them on top of each other, roll them up, and then thinly slice across the roll.  Mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil in a serving cup.

5.  When the fish is finished cooking, place the tortillas that you plan to serve on a baking pan and heat them in the oven for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the edges start to curl up and and the tortillas are warm.

Serving: Place one tortilla on a plate.  Spread the Basil Yogurt Sauce in the middle of the tortilla, leaving about an inch around the edge.  Layer your toppings on the sauce.  Place two pieces of tilapia on each tortilla.  Roll the sides up to form a taco, and enjoy!  

Nutrition facts for the Tilapia on each taco, approximately 2 pieces of the cooked tilapia. 

1 serving (70.1 g)
Calories 82, Calories from Fat 17
Total Fat 1.9g, 3%
Saturated Fat 0.5g, 3%
Cholesterol 28mg, 9%
Sodium 103mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 3.2g, 1%
Dietary Fiber 0.1g, 0%
Sugars 0.2g
Protein 12.3g
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 1%Iron 2%

Nutrition facts for one serving of the Basil Yogurt Sauce, or the amount on one taco, assuming the sauce is evenly distributed to the 6 tacos: 

Calories 5, 
Calories from Fat 

Total Fat 0.0g0%
Saturated Fat 0.0g, 0%
Sodium 36mg, 1%
Total Carbohydrates 0.3g, 0%
Sugars 0.3g
Protein 0.9g
Vitamin A 1%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%Iron 0%

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