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Buttery Tilapia over Elote

Buttery Tilapia over Elote

Cooking fish properly is hard: it’s so easy to overcook! We keep practicing and are finally starting to get it down. I’ve been theorizing that it takes just less than 3 minutes per 1/4″ thickness of the fillet, split between each side. Be sure to taste the spice mix on this one. It should be stronger than you like because some comes off in the pan and it takes quite a bit of seasoning for meats. The Trader Joe’s corn mix pairs well with this and creates a wonderful roasted Mexican-style fish dish.

Buttery Tilapia over Elote

  • Prep Time: 7m
  • Cook Time: 8m
  • Total Time: 15m


  • 1/8 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne powder
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 lb Tilapia
  • 1 pkg Trader Joe's Roasted Corn w/ Cotija Cheese


  1. Prepare the tilapia into fillets and pat dry with paper towels. 1/2 lbs yields 2 fillets; be sure to cut longwise.
  2. In a small container, mix the spices: garlic, onion, cayenne, and a couple pinches (or turns if using grinder) of black pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides of the fillets. Season to taste, I don't quite use all of the seasoning. Then, sprinkle a few healthy pinches of salt, at least 1 pinch per side (2 fillets == 4 pinches).
  3. Start cooking the corn. Add 1-1/2 tbsp cooking oil to a frying or simmering pan (the instructions suggest 2 but I feel 1.5 tbsp is too oily). Stir occasionally. It should be done when all the sauce pieces have melted and thoroughly coat the corn.
  4. Heat butter in frying pan. Be sure the pan is hot before adding the fillets. Flick some water off your fingertips and be sure it sizzles. Don't burn the butter!
  5. Cook the fillets for 2 minutes on one side. After the sides are half white, flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Tilapia filets are usually pretty thin, so pay attention to how the color changes on the side of the fish.
  6. Remove from heat and leave covered for 2 minutes while you finish and plate the corn.
  7. Plate the corn, add the cotija cheese, and place the tilapia fillets on top. Sprinkle some cotija over the fish as well, to your liking. Grind some fresh pepper over the whole dish, and sprinkle with parsley.