Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tilapia




Tilapia are now the fifth-most consumed fish in the U.S. It’s an “unfishy” fish, and it tends to taste like whatever sauce it’s served with. This mild flavor, combined with its low price, probably explains why consumers love it, and chefs hate it.

Environmentalists encourage eating tilapia. Oceans Alive ranks U.S. farmed tilapia as an “eco-best” choice, meaning they don’t damage the environment (through pollution of waters, reduction of biodiversity, overharvesting, etc.). So does National Geographic’s Green Guide.

Tilapia are also lower in contaminants than other fish. As concerns about mercury contamination in fish increases, pond-raised tilapia are a safe toxin-free food because they do not build up environmental pollutants in their meat. That’s why Co-op America places tilapia on the “safe” list.

The key to tilapia appears to be finding a quality source. Given that they can thrive in low quality water, you’ll want to be careful about not getting tilapia from a water source that is too low quality. The Monterey Bay Aquarium says that farmed tilapia from U.S. should be a first choice; and farmed tilapia from China should be a last choice.

Many fish products from China, including tilapia, have been determined to be unsafe by the Food and Drug Administration.

Although farm-raised tilapia has less contaminants than fish caught in the wild, many Chinese tilapia farmers are adding things such as anti-fungal agents and antibiotics to their ponds. This helps protect the fish, but many of these additives are not allowed in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration.

Tilapia from the United States has been deemed one of the eco-best fish by the Environmental Defense Fund2. For the most benefits, choose tilapia that is farm raised.

U.S. farmed tilapia is the "Best Choice," with tilapia from Central and South America as a "Good Alternative" to other imported product. Avoid tilapia farmed in China/Taiwan.

This is a picture of one of my favorite tilapia dishes. I marinate the fish in "Radich's Spicy Garlic Plus" sauce. If you cannot find this you can make your own, it lists the following ingredients:

Soy Sauce, Honey, Wine, Garlic, Water, Cornstarch, Onion, Garlic, Fresh Sesame Seeds, Spices and Natural Flavorings (those last two are most likely MSG, so leave them out!) Notice there is no oil! 1 Tablespoon has only 3 grams of sugar and 20 calories, it does not have a strong soy sauce flavor either, I love it!

Marinate the fish overnight or just a short while if that's all you have, then place the fish in a bowl, add some of the marinade ( a couple tablespoons) and water (maybe a total of 1/3 cup liquid to 5 ounces of fish, cover and microwave for 5 minutes.

In another bowl place 4 ounces of cooked brown rice, 1 cup of cooked cut up asparagus or other vegetable, re-warm in the microwave and then place the tilapia on top, pour the cooking liquid over to moisten it all.

I could eat this almost everyday and it is low calorie, low fat, low sugar and has everything you need.