Fish info, nutrition, a recipe, and even some arguments and a little sass.
Isn’t everyone always telling you should eat more fish? And then someone else cuts in and informs you that the world is over-fished and that by eating fish you are not only ruining the sea’s food chain and murdering dolphins, but you are also exposing yourself and the ones you love to dangerous levels of mercury. I bet you are.
So let’s open this entry with a little primer–as I know it–on how to responsibly eat fish. Really, I’m just going to point you to a few sources. But here’s the deal: the world is in danger of over-fishing; plenty of sea creatures are slaughtered for naught with irresponsible fishing practices; and plenty of fish is indeed laced with ill-making mercury. What’s a girl or boy to do? First off, check with your can of tuna or your fishmonger to see if the fish is safely fished. Fished fish is nutritionally superior to farmed fish (some of it VERY significantly), but farmed fish should also be responsibly farmed. The likelihood is that your can or your fishmonger won’t tell you too much. So, you better load a Seafood Watch app on your iPhone. Not an option? You can find the info online or even download a printable card. Make sure to check back regularly for updated info. Seafood Watch will make fish recommendations for you based on the latest mercury and sustainability research and information. Better than I could do.
So why bother? Besides its lean protein, we all know the buzz on the street about fish is the Omega Fatty Acids. And for good reason. Eating fish just 1 or 2 times a week can decrease your risk for a heart attack by 1/3 or more, according to the Mayo Clinic. These fatty acids reduce systemic inflammation, which does all sorts of awesome things for your heart, your arteries, and your brain… and then some. Want to be smarter? Omega-3s are your go-to. Salmon isn’t always listed as a healthiest food for no reason-except-its-alarming-color: it’s very high on those omegas.
It’s also high in B12 and iron. Very important, especially if you have a low-meat (or no-liver) diet. And lots of other vitamins, etc. Fish is a nutrient-dense food. Most nutritionist seem to advise eating it once-twice weekly, which is not only great, but is helpful in cutting back on meat (especially red meat) consumption, which is like an American epidemic.
I understand that fish can be prohibitive from an economic standpoint. Believe me, I understand. For our home, this is one of those foods we have to spend the extra for (like coconut oil, maple syrup, and honey). Of course, there are more affordable fish. BUT DO NOT, WHATEVER YOU DO, fall for the boxed, breaded fish, especially at your average grocer. This fish is often low-quality, and, more importantly, loaded with fillers. It’s not really a whole lotta fish, and what on earth is that item in the 100+ ingredient list? It’s called artificial: artificial preservatives, colors, questionable flavorings, and a bunch of low-quality soy.
Tilapia tends to be on the cheaper end of fish, at least in the US. It is popular, also, because of its mild taste. The recipe I am about to share is NOT the most healthful preparation of fish, but if you are new to fish-eating (especially at home), this is a true crowd pleaser. Even your kids will gobble it up. Addictive!
Serve with something light, like a rice pilaf and a green salad.
BAKED CREAMY TILAPIA
- Line a baking pan with foil and preheat the oven to 425F. Place 1 pound tilapia filets in the pan and lightly season.
- In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise, a squirt of lemon juice, and a dash each of dried basil, celery salt, onion powder and black pepper. Stir well and then pour evenly over the fish, spreading to coat.
- Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake fish for about 15 minutes, testing flakiness with a fork. Feel free to pull the foil off for the last five minutes and set the oven to broil.