Blackened Tilapia Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

Hello my friends and welcome to another edition of Food Star Friday. I really love doing these segments. One because well, I just love to cook, and two because the pressure is off of me. Seriously, I love coming up with great recipes for everyone to enjoy, but when I do Food Star Friday I get to try recipes by known food stars and critique them. I don't know, maybe it just makes me feel important. Silly I guess, but for awhile I had thought about doing a restaurant review blog. I just realized, even though reviewing would be fun, I love cooking waaaaaay more. I would be more interested in figuring out what was in each dish so I could recreate it at home.

Anyway, if this is your first time here, on Food Star Friday I cook a recipe from a well known food star and then give my (and my tasters) review of that recipe. This week I did a Paula Deen recipe. I know Paula has gotten a bad rap in the press lately about her diabetes and unhealthy cooking practices, but I have always been a Paula fan. So I wanted to try one of her recipes that was more on the healthy side so I could share my love for her as well as my love for healthy food. I feel this recipe does just that.

I have never blackened anything before. Well at least not on purpose (having flashbacks of some wicked smoke alarm fiascoes), so I was a bit nervous to see how I would do. I was sure that the fish would burn and/or stick to the skillet because it didn't call for any oil in the pan. But Paula knows her stuff! Thank goodness it was Food Star Friday and I know I have to stick strictly to the recipe or just might have ruined the whole thing. I realized afterward that the fish would have fried in the oil and not blackened.

My other fear was setting off my smoke alarm. I did open my kitchen window as a preemptive move, but the alarm stayed pleasantly quiet through out the cooking process (which made my dogs very happy).

I did have to pick up a few specialty items for this recipe. I didn't have sweet paprika, only regular and smoked. I did a bit of searching on the internet about the difference and realized that the flavor profile would be different if I used anything but sweet so on the list it went. I also did not have ground thyme or ground red pepper. It also calls for store bought mango salsa. I would have personally loved to use my Sweet and Spicy Peach Salsa, and if I  make this again I will do just that. But I was following the recipe word for word so I wanted to find a quality salsa. I found a brand called Susan's All Natural Gourmet Mango Salsa. It was fantastic!! I want to try to recreate it.

I can happily tell you that this was a hit with 3 of my tasters. One barely made a positive ID check on it before he inhaled it completely! So it was 4 thumbs up with this meal. YAY I love it when that happens!!

Blackened Tilapia Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground thyme
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 4 Kaiser buns, split, buttered and toasted
  • Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise, recipe follows
  • Store-bought mango salsa

In a shallow dish, combine first 6 ingredients.
Pour melted butter into another shallow dish. Dip fish fillets in melted butter and coat with seasoning mixture.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook prepared fish, in batches if necessary, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Spread Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise evenly over toasted buns. Place blackened fish on bottom half of bun, top with mango salsa, and cover with top half of bun.

Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill.


  1. Gorgeous! I would inhale this too! And you would never think this is a Paula Deen recipe.

    1. It was really very good and sooo not your typical Paula. Although I did laugh because there is a stick of butter in there!

  2. Wow, this looks amazing Bobbi! I love blackened fish. The mayo sounds delicious, too. Thank you for sharing at Fit and Fabulous Fridays!

    1. Thanks Amee, and thank you for hosting :)