Gluten-Free..and Delicious

O’Mara’s Anita Kern puts a sweet topping on a crusted tilapia
Photographs by Joe Vaughn

“I created this recipe for O’Mara’s as part of my gluten-free menu,” says Anita Kern, executive chef at the Berkley restaurant. ”It is so deliciously tasty that even people without gluten-sensitivity issues enjoy it. My philosophy has always been: It has to be good enough for me to want to eat it or I won’t serve it!” Kern was born and raised in Australia, and now lives in St. Clair. She has traveled to Italy, India, Africa, “and many more places,” she says. “I developed a sophisticated palate for different foods and ingredients at a young age. I love creating good food with simple, clean ingredients and being a part of an atmosphere of serving and enjoying what good food brings to the table.” She calls herself a “self-trained chef.”


1 ½ cups cooked red or white quinoa

½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (made from

gluten-free bread)

2 egg whites

2 pounds tilapia

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil

All-purpose seasoning (Kern makes her own) 


Spread out the quinoa on wax paper or aluminum foil. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the quinoa. Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the tilapia with salt, pepper, and paprika, and dip into the egg. Press the fish into quinoa mixture. Set aside. 

Warm a large skillet over high heat. Add oil. When hot, add tilapia in batches and reduce the heat to medium. Cook each side 4-5 minutes, turning once, until crust begins to brown. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with seasoning, and set aside tented with foil.


2 teaspoons butter

½ cup finely chopped white onion

2 cups sliced strawberries

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons port wine

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¾ teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves

2 cups raspberries

2 cups blueberries

Blue cheese

Toasted walnuts


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in strawberries, port, sugar, lemon juice, and tarragon and cook until strawberries begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add raspberries and blueberries and cook until blueberries swell and the compote thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Top tilapia with compote, blue cheese, and walnuts.