The very first time these Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado Lime Sauce were crafted and served, they were devoured in a heartbeat, leaving the cook with only a tiny sliver of fish and the thinnest brush of sauce to eat it with. A sure sign of a hit if I ever saw one! We are all in love with this meal and you will be too!
Don’t be deterred by the number of ingredients. It looks long, but isn’t difficult and none are even the least bit tricky. These sandwiches come together very quickly, making them a great addition to your weeknight meal rotation.
First, throw all of your sauce ingredients into a food processor (this one is a great option) and let the machine do the work for you. A few pulses is all it takes! If you don’t have a processor, you can do this easily in a bowl with a fork. The result won’t be as smooth, but it will still be delicious and will still be the perfect spread to accompany your fish. Place the sauce in the frig to hang out while you prep and cook.
Next, you’ll want to whisk your cornmeal together with the spices. You can smell how good this is going to taste on your fish! By the way, if you can’t smell your spices, it’s time to throw them away and get some new ones. I love the spices I have ordered online from Burlap and Barrel, as they are ethically sourced and high quality. You can purchase your spices at your local grocery store, too, but sometimes these are less fresh, which means they won’t add the flavor you are really looking for and they won’t last as long.
Place your cornmeal mixture in a large, shallow dish like a pie plate and spread it out. Pat your tilapia filets dry, then press them one at a time into the cornmeal mixture until each filet is completely coated. Set them on a clean plate and set them aside.
Cook & Assemble
One of the best things about serving fish filets is that they take hardly any time at all to cook through. And tilapia is a very mild fish, so even those who don’t typically enjoy fish will like these sandwiches. They don’t taste “fishy” at all.
Go ahead and heat up a bit of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, carefully place the filets into the pan one at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side. You can test for doneness by inserting the tines of a fork straight down into the thickest part of the filet, then gently twisting just a little. If the fish is done, you will see it begin to easily flake apart. If the fish doesn’t flake or still looks a little translucent in the center, it needs another minute in the pan.
While the fish is cooking, gather your sandwich fixings – nice soft buns, sliced tomatoes, lettuce leaves, and your avocado lime sauce. Spread a layer of the sauce on the bun. Top, bottom, or both. However you like it! Place a fish filet on each bun, then add lettuce and tomato. Serve with a side of fries or a simple salad.
And you know we love a little dessert to round out our dinner. Try our Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies or our Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies. A Lemon Bundt Cake is always a good choice or a Fresh Blueberry Pie is just right for summer.
Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia Sandwiches with Avocado Lime Sauce
For the Sauce:
- 2 avocados
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- ¼ tsp salt
For the Fish:
- ¼ cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 5-6 ounce tilapia filets thawed if frozen
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 sub or hamburger buns
- 2 ripe tomatoes thinly sliced
- 5-10 lettuce leaves separated, washed, and patted dry
- Place all of the sauce ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and chill until ready to assemble the sandwiches.
- Combine cornmeal, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne in a wide, shallow bowl. Carefully pat dry each tilapia filet and dredge one at a time in the cornmeal mixture, making sure to completely cover each filet. Set aside on a clean plate.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. As soon as it’s hot, pan fry the fish 4-5 minutes on each side. Cook in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan. The fish will flake easily when done.
- Once the fish is cooked, assemble sandwiches by placing a filet on each bun, then topping with lettuce, tomato, and the prepared avocado lime sauce.