Tilapia has gained popularity over the past 20 years. Once a fish that no one had heard of, now it’s the seafood everyone wants to try. It is easy to see why – tilapia is affordable, easy to prepare and has a mild flavor that appeals to those who may not love fish. You might say it’s the perfect “starter fish.”
Types to buy:
Since it is almost completely farm-raised, tilapia is available year-round. Unlike many other farm-raised fish, tilapia is ecologically sustainable so you can feel good about buying it. The Monterey Bay Aquarium group’s Seafood Watch, which helps consumers buy eco-friendly seafood, advises avoiding tilapia from China and Taiwan because they may be raised in polluted waters. They label tilapia raised in the United States as the “best choice” while tilapia from Ecuador, Brazil, Honduras and Costa Rice are “good alternatives.”
You can find tilapia fresh or frozen at most fish markets and grocery stores. When buying, choose pieces that are firm, brightly colored and odorless (a fishy smell means it isn’t fresh). Cook that fish right away — within 24 to 48 hours of purchase.
Tilapia is low in fat and high in protein. It is extremely mild and tastes good with just about anything. Grill it up for fish tacos or steam it with ginger and coconut milk. I love to prepare this firm, white fish with garlic and citrus or toss it into a warm pot of creamy chowder.