03 May 2018

Baked Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia

Often, when I buy a box of hard taco shells, one or two will be broken. I save these shells in a bag for "later" with the expectation I'll crush them up to top taco salad or a casserole or something, but what actually happens is that I just end up with a bag of broken taco shells rattling around the cupboards for months, getting in the way and annoying me to no end.

But no more! For I have finally used my bag of broken taco shells! I ground them up in the food processor and used them to coat tilapia fillets. This isn't a very original idea, I know, but it made for tasty fish. If you don't have a bag of broken taco shells on hand, tortilla chips would also work just fine.

Baked Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia



  • 1 lb whole tilapia fillets
  • 5 hard yellow corn taco shells
  • 1 tsp salt-free southwestern-style seasoning blend [Penzeys Arizona Dreaming]
  • 2 egg whites
  • Salsa, for serving
  • Guacamole, if desired, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a half sheet (13" x 18") pan with baking parchment.
  3. Pat fillets dry with a paper towel. Cut fillets in half, length-wise, and set aside.
  4. Pulverize taco shells in a food processor until finely ground. Pour into a shallow dish -- a soup bowl or pie plate works well. Stir in seasoning blend.
    Serve with salsa and guacamole, as desired.
  5. Place egg whites in another shallow dish.
  6. Dip fillets in egg and then in tortilla crumb mixture.
  7. Place fillets on the parchment-lined sheet pan and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until crispy and fish is 145°F.
  8. Serve with salsa and guacamole, as desired.

We ate this tilapia with cucumber salad and garlicky cilantro rice. The rice was the usual medium grain white cooked in low sodium chicken broth with dried garlic flakes, but I stirred a generous handful of minced cilantro into the finished rice just before serving. As a meal, it was light but filling with bright, clean, summery flavors.

Anyway, I've switched over to using corn tortillas, so I shouldn't have to deal with broken shells in the future. If we want them crispy, I follow Mexican Please's method for oven-baked shells.