Tilapia Recipes for Any Night of the Week
Tilapia seems to be the new "chicken of the sea" these days, with all the concern over high concentrations of mercury in tuna. And though it is technically not "of the sea," since it is a freshwater species, the fish does have quite a bit in common with chicken, the go-to protein of choice for many people. It's relatively inexpensive, quick-cooking, and takes well to a variety of preparations, and it has a neutral, relatively non-fishy smell and taste that appeals to people who don't ordinarily eat fish.
You can choose to coat it in a crunchy batter and deep-fry it for a simple sandwich, pan-sear it and serve it with some seasonal vegetables, or simply bake it and serve it with an easy sauce like a light tomato sauce or pesto. It's great in tacos, too.
Most tilapia are farm-raised and contain very low levels of mercury. If you're concerned about sustainability issues surrounding farm-raised fish, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommends purchasing U.S.-farmed tilapia since most domestic growers farm tilapia inland. However, since less than 10 percent of tilapia in the United States is actually domestically farmed, it may be a bit hard to find. As an alternative, tilapia from Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Honduras are also good choices. Overall, it can be an environmentally friendly choice since tilapia yields a net-positive amount of protein for its feeding requirements.
Tilapia is most often sold filleted, and since the fillets are thin, they cook very quickly. Keep an eye on them as they are cooking to avoid overcooking them and drying them out.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.