When I lived in the Washington, DC area, there was a certain restaurant that I loved. It was, to me, the prefect restaurant: hip and cool, but casual and unpretentious. It had a great vibe, but didn’t take itself too seriously, and the menu was incredibly affordable. You could order a simple sandwich or burger or even a pizza, or make it a fancy night out and get a great bottle of wine and wonderful entrees.
I vividly recall one night out with three girlfriends and me, we were going out to celebrate the impending birth of our friend Amy’s second child. It was that special time, just days before she delivered, full of hope and expectation and the realization (especially true with the second child, since you know what to expect!) that one’s life was about to dramatically and wonderfully change.
Anyway, there were the four of us, who all loved to try new and different dishes and shared a love of exotic cooking, and we one-by-one placed our orders…and all ended up ordering the same dish, the Tilapia BLT. I had never had a fish BLT prior to this evening, but we all agreed, after leaving the restaurants very full, that we were very glad we had ordered this particular dish.
This recipe is my attempt to remake the same dish, Sweet Pea style. I’ve made it a couple times and each time it takes me back to that special night full of expectation.
4 tilapia filets, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 pieces bacon, cooked
8 slices tomato
4 slices Bibb or Boston lettuce
1 avocado, sliced thin
4 toasted Kaiser Buns or thick bread
After rinsing and patting dry the tilapia, mix the flour, salt and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge the fish in the flour, coating it on all sides.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and then the fish. Cook 3-5 minutes or until you see the edges of the fish beginning to cook. Flip, cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side.
While the fish is cooking, assemble the other ingredients for the sandwich: the bacon, tomato and lettuce.
Slice the avocado and drizzle a bit of lime on top of it (this helps prevent browning but also adds a good zest of flavor).
Place the bacon, tomato, lettuce and avocado on one half of the bun, add the tilapia and check out your meal creation:
Perhaps it is the assumption that the fish and avocado add to the healthfulness of a traditional BLT, or perhaps it is just the awfully good taste of the bacon paired with the other ingredients, but this is one of my very favorite sandwiches...and the rest of the Sweet Pea family's too!