Spicy tilapia wins friends with salsaWith another holiday meal behind us, it’s time to lighten up a bit — I’m thinking fish with some fresh seasonal flavors. Fish is generally low in calories, and the American Heart Association says eating fish is a good way to get in servings of lean protein.
By: Susan M. Selasky, Detroit Free Press
With another holiday meal behind us, it’s time to lighten up a bit — I’m thinking fish with some fresh seasonal flavors. Fish is generally low in calories, and the American Heart Association says eating fish is a good way to get in servings of lean protein.
Tilapia is a popular, inexpensive and widely available fish sold fresh or frozen. A generous piece of tilapia weighs only about 5 ounces. It’s a semifirm fish that holds together well with nearly all cooking methods. The mild flavor of tilapia takes to almost any kind of seasoning.
Today’s recipe pairs a fruit salsa with chili-rubbed tilapia.
Salsas and most fish go hand-in-hand. It’s the fresh flavor of this mango salsa and the subtle spiciness of the rub on the fish that pair well.
Choose mangos that are soft to the touch and greenish-yellow in color with a hint of red blush — almost like a ripe Bartlett pear.
The tricky part of the mango is the flat seed that runs the length of the oval-shaped fruit. It’s hard to judge where to start cutting the flesh away from the seed.
A safe way is to cut a slice off the bottom of the mango and a slice off the top where the stem is located to reveal the seed, which is whitish. This way you know where to start cutting. After you’ve cut away portions of the mango from the seed, score the flesh and cut it away from the skin.
Mangos are a good source of vitamin C, containing more than 60 percent of the daily recommendation.
If you’ve purchased mangos that aren’t quite ripe, place them in a paper bag for several days to speed ripening. Once they’re ripe, refrigerate for as long as five days.
Two other nutrition bonuses with this recipe are the avocado and black beans. Avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fats — the ones that benefit good (HDL) cholesterol and help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. And the black beans are an excellent source of fiber.
Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Mango Salsa
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Roma tomatoes, washed, diced
1 ripe medium mango, seed removed, peeled and diced
½ cup diced red onion
1 medium avocado, halved, pitted, diced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup canola oil, divided
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder or favorite chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
Sea salt to taste
4 skinless tilapia fillets (about 4 ounces each)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a heat-proof platter on the middle rack of the oven.
In a medium bowl, combine the beans, tomatoes, mango, red onion, avocado, lime juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, cilantro and black pepper; toss gently. Let the salsa sit at room temperature while you cook the fish.
In a small bowl, mix ¼ teaspoon black pepper with the chili powder, cumin, oregano and about ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste. Rub both sides of the tilapia fillets with the mixture.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium-high heat until hot. Working in batches, cook two of the tilapia fillets until lightly browned and the flesh is opaque and cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the fish to the platter in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining two fillets. Transfer the fillets to the platter, and spoon half of the salsa on top. Serve with the remaining salsa on the side.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 402 calories (39 percent from fat), 18 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 33 grams carbohydrates, 31 grams protein, 278 milligrams sodium, 57 milligrams cholesterol, 82 milligrams calcium, 12 grams fiber.