Pan-Fried Tilapia with White Beans, Bacon, and Rosemary

Bacon and rosemary lend slow-cooked flavor to canned cannellini beans, making them a speedy but special accompaniment for tender tilapia fillets. The original recipe called for trout, but the fish counter at our local supermarket only carried the entire fish, intact with heads and all. I had no intention of beheading and deboning fish for a weeknight meal, so we opted for the already filleted tilapia.

Otherwise, I didn’t make any other changes. The cooking goes real quick once you’ve prepped everything so I waited until Russ got home from work to begin cooking (except the bacon, I did that ahead of time.) He manned the fish, while I oversaw the bean and onion mixture. The teamwork paid off and in no time we were sitting down to a delicious dinner! A simple side salad made a perfect pairing…


Pan-Fried Tilapia with White Beans, Bacon and Rosemary

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 1 19-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 4 6-oz. skin-on trout fillets, pin bones removed (or tilapia fillets)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Three slices of cooked bacon cool before they are crumbled.

Using gluten-free flour, we lightly dusted the three fillets and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

img_9053Rosemary and garlic are added to the softened onions.

img_9057Next, the beans, broth, and bacon are cooked for 5 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Russ pan-sears the fish fillets for several minutes each side.

We spread the bean mixture onto a platter, layered the tilapia fillets above, then topped with chopped parsley. 


  1. In a 10- to 12-inch skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, turning once or twice, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, let cool, and then coarsely crumble.
  2. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the onion to the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until the pan is nearly dry, about 1 minute. Add the beans, broth, and bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to let the flavors meld. Keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, season the tilapia with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Heat 2 tsp. each of the oil and butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the foam from the butter subsides.
  4. Add 2 of the tilapia fillets flesh side down and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil, butter, and tilapia.
  5. Season the beans generously with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Serve the tilapia with the beans and lemon wedges for squeezing.

Adapted from Laraine Perri of Fine Cooking



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