Don't know if you saw this latest tilapia study to come out of my alma mater...but I wasn't too excited to read it since I love tilapia and frequently prepare it at home. The following statement was particularly discouraging: "Tilapia has higher levels of potentially detrimental long-chain omega-6 fatty acids than 80-percent-lean hamburger, doughnuts and even pork bacon." Soooo not good news. The main concern is for at-risk populations with certain pre-exiting conditions such as heart disease and asthma...but still, the news is disheartening (no pun intended).
I found this tilapia study after reading about the importance of selecting ocean friendly seafood in this month's Shape magazine. In addition to considering the mercury and PCB levels (and now long-chain omega-6 fatty acids!) in the fish you consume, it's worth considering farming and fishing practices that are being used. As more and more people increase the amount of fish and seafood in their healthy diets, it's important to pay attention to the resulting environmental impact. I thought this mini-guide put out by the Blue Ocean Institute was particularly handy...it's wallet size so you can take it with you the next time you go to the seafood counter!
I'm a firm believer in enjoying most things in moderation...so here's a great tilapia recipe (though I'll probably be taking a break from tilapia for at least the near future until a rebuttal study is published...too many other good fish out there!). We thoroughly enjoyed this dish and thought the cherries and almonds and onions were a great complement for the mild fish!
Tilapia with Cherries and Almonds
(Adapted from here)
1 Tbsp almonds, sliced
1 pound raw tilapia, four 4 oz fillets
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
3 tsp olive oil, extra-virgin, divided
1 small onion(s), chopped
1/2 cup cherries, sweet, pitted, halved
1/3 cup chicken broth, reduced-sodium, fat-free
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1. Toast the almonds in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-low heat until aromatic and golden, shaking the pan often, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Season fish with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in the skillet, then add the fish. Cook until firm and lightly browned, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook about 2 more minutes. Remove fish to serving plates.
3. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the skillet, then add the onion. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the cherries, broth and thyme, scraping up any browned bits in the skillet. Heat until simmering; cook for 30 seconds to reduce slightly.
4. Divide the sauce and toasted almonds among the fish and enjoy!
Just 3 points per serving! Recipe makes 4 servings.
**Update: I'm submitting this recipe to Joelen's Chef Spotlight: Health Conscious Chefs this month! Check it out!