Sorry Bobby: Baked Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

Bobby Flay's Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Butter, Capers and Orzo is one of my favorite ways to eat tilapia. While Bobby is host of "Boy Meets Grill," I am a girl that's not as chill with a grill. I took Bobby's recipe and baked the tilapia instead of grilling it. Here's my modified version with some extra tips to nail this dish.

Ingredients (modified for two people or one hungry eater):

1/2 a shallot

1/4 cup of white wine

1 lemon (to juice and zest)

1/2 a stick of unsalted butter

Splash of heavy cream

2 6-8oz tilapia filets

1/8 cup of capers

To make this recipe easier, I'm going to break it down into three levels. 1. Lemon Butter Sauce 2. Tilapia 3. Orzo

Making the Lemon Butter Sauce

Combine the lemon zest, juice, wine and shallot in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until reduced by half.

Arielle Tip: zest and juice the lemon first. Cutting shallots is just like cutting onions, prepare to cry. Fresh lemon juice helps remove the smell of the onions from the air and off your hands.

Remove from the heat and let cool. Whisk together the cream, butter and wine mixture in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. The lemon butter can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.


I've made this recipe a few times and I definitely noticed a difference when I refrigerated the sauce vs. pouring it straight on the fish. The benefit of refrigerating the sauce is that it takes some of the acidity out and makes it a much smoother tasting sauce. The downside is waiting for it to refrigerate. That's why I recommend you doing this first instead of multitasking with the other levels of this dish. So take the time unwind from the day or catch up on some social media news while your sauce gets cold.

Baking the Tilapia

Since we aren't using a grill, the tilapia will take a little longer to cook.

First, preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare your tilapia on a aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Brush the fish on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10-15 min. If your fish starts to get light brown on the edges, it's ready to come out.

Cooking the Orzo

When there is about 5 min left for the tilapia to bake, start boiling water for the orzo. Once the water is boiled (and you've added salt to the water, if that's what you like), the orzo should take 8-10 min to cook.

Now, if you're like me, you probably forgot to take the lemon butter sauce out of the fridge. No worries. While the orzo is cooking, get a small pot or pan, add the sauce and let it simmer. That's when I add the capers, just so it can all cook together.

Toss the orzo with a few tablespoons of the lemon butter and 2 tablespoons of the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the orzo to a platter.

Finishing your dish

Once the orzo is on your plate, add the fish on top and pour on the lemon butter sauce with the capers. Season the dish with about 2 tablespoons of parsley and salt and pepper to taste.


Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay, 2007