Coconut Tilapia & Avocado Lime Dipping Sauce

coconut tilapia with avocado lime dipping sauceI promised you Key West-inspired food, so here goes!

This is a lightened-up version of the (multiple) pounds of juicy, pink fried coconut shrimp we ate in Key West.  They were divine, of course, but this baked fish is a lighter way to enjoy the same flavors.  I paired it with a take on an avocado-cilantro sauce we had with calamari one night for dinner.  Again, it’s (a little bit?) lighter, with the reduced-fat sour cream, but still very flavorful.

Two things: (1) This is (obviously) great with shrimp, too.  I’ve made shrimp, tilapia, and even grouper with this breading, and it’s all great.  Any flaky white fish will work.  (2) I went light on the cilantro in this sauce.  I’m still working on my love-hate relationship with cilantro.  I’m getting there, slowly but surely.  If you prefer more, throw caution to the wind, friend!

coconut tilapia and avocado lime sauce

Coconut Tilapia & Avocado Lime Dipping Sauce
Makes: 4 servings
  • 1 lb. tilapia filets
  • 1 cup seasoned panko crumbs
  • ⅓ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 ripe Haas avocado, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ⅓ cup light sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. minced cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cut tilapia filets into 2” x 2” chunks. Pat them dry with paper towels.
  3. Place panko crumbs and sweetened coconut in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. In a second bowl, crack both eggs and beat lightly with a fork. Place flour into a third, small bowl.
  4. Dip tilapia pieces into the flour and shake off the excess. Dip pieces into egg and then into the combined panko and coconut mixture. Place tilapia pieces onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle the pieces lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil so that they brown nicely in the oven. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the outside is golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the dipping sauce, place the diced avocado, lime juice, sour cream, mayonnaise, and cilantro into a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Process until combined. Serve alongside the baked tilapia pieces.


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