(NICOLE BANSEN / THE STATESMAN)
Panko-crusted tilapia is a delicious and comforting dish. (NICOLE BANSEN / THE STATESMAN)

Sometimes, when I’m in my dorm room and I’m surrounded by all the things I have to do, I like to take a couple of minutes and just imagine I’m on vacation somewhere. Normally, these vacations take place somewhere far from Stony Brook and are on a tropical island with white beaches and blue seas. I like to imagine the warm breeze, the smell of the sea and the sound of gulls. But then I always open my eyes and remember that I’ve got loads of work due. If you’re like me and like daydreaming about the beach, I unfortunately can’t send you there, but I can do the next best thing and teach you my recipe for Panko-crusted tilapia. And yes, tilapias don’t swim in the ocean, but maybe they can daydream about it with you. This flaky fish dish will comfort even the most stressed out of people and goes well with rice, potatoes or a side salad.

Ingredients

–          1 bag of Panko (or Italian breadcrumbs if you prefer)

–          4 fillets of tilapia

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–          ½ cup of melted butter

–          ¼ teaspoon of garlic pepper

–          2 tablespoons of lemon juice

–          ½ teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning or chili powder

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First, you want to preheat an oven to 375 degrees. As the oven heats up, wash your fillets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Set the fish aside for now. Next, melt ½ a cup of butter by microwaving it for about 12 seconds. When thoroughly melted, mix the butter, garlic pepper, lemon juice and Old Bay into a small bowl. Take each fillet, one at a time, and dip it in the butter mixture. Then take your panko and pour it onto a plate. Take the marinated fillet and place it on top of the pile of panko. When you think the one side is evenly coated in panko, flip it over so the other side gets coated too. Place onto a baking tray. A tip for an easy clean up would be to line a baking tray with tinfoil and coat the tinfoil with cooking oil. When you finish covering the fillets, press any remaining panko onto the fish. Once you have all the fillets breaded, put the baking tray into the oven for roughly 12 to 14 minutes, or until the panko gets golden brown. When the fish is done cooking, squeeze some lemon juice on top and you’ve got yourself one delicious plate of fish. This dish serves four.

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Nicole is a senior majoring in journalism at Stony Brook University. She joined The Statesman fall semester of her freshman year and expects to continue writing for them until she graduates later this year. She couldn’t be happier being the A&E editor and looks forward to expanding her writers' involvement with the paper. Her favorite experience in the arts section was covering the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. While Nicole does enjoy the arts, she has a passion for international affairs. Currently, she can speak three different languages and doesn’t plan on stopping there. One day, she hopes to work for Al Jazeera or the BBC.

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