Tilapia is healthy, tender, and delicious. It can be used to make many different recipes and it suits lots of cuisines. This fish is also known as Nile perch, cherry snapper, St Peter’s fish, mouthbreeders, and sunshine snapper.
Tilapia comes in different breeds and various colors, including black and white, green, silver, or red. Most tilapia are exported live or as fresh fillets. Indonesian, Thai, and Taiwanese farmers export frozen tilapia to the United States. This fish is widely farmed so it tends to be available year-round.
You can bake, broil, grill, or steam tilapia. You can also use it in stir-fry recipes or pan-fry it. This versatile and flavorful fish is one of the most popular fish that you can get. A red-skinned tilapia might have pink flesh but most tilapia have white flesh. The flavor of the fish can be described as mild, sweet and rather like sole. You can serve tilapia with the skin on because it is attractive, but do not eat the skin because it has a bitter flavor.
How to Choose and Prepare Tilapia Fillets
When buying fresh tilapia, choose moist-looking fish, which is layered in ice. Do not buy tilapia, which has a musky smell. Also, tilapia absorbs the flavor of the water it is raised in so check the harvest methods and source.
Tilapia keeps for two weeks at 32 degrees F. If you cannot get live or fresh tilapia, choose “IQF” (individually quick-frozen) tilapia. This is where the fillets are not stuck together in the packaging. Tilapia keeps well in the freezer for up to six months.
Before cooking tilapia, it is important to clean it well, inside and outside. This means rinsing the fish well under cold running water, as well as removing all traces of the internal organs. You can then cook the whole fish or individual fillets.
How to Cook Tilapia
Thoroughly clean your tilapia fillets and dredge them in beaten egg. Dip the egg-coated tilapia in breadcrumbs and bake it for half an hour in a 360 degrees F oven. You can use parmesan instead of the breadcrumbs or even seasoned flour. Add some chili powder and cayenne pepper to the flour for a spicy kick.
You can steam tilapia in about twelve minutes. To cook a whole tilapia using this healthy cooking method, you should remove as many of the fish scales as you can. Remove the organs and insides from the fish, and then steam it until it flakes easily and is opaque. You can pan fry tilapia fillets in oil or butter for a quick and easy meal, and this takes two or three minutes per side.
If you would rather grill the fish, choose inch thick tilapia fillets and rub a light coating of oil over both sides. Preheat the grill to medium and coat the grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Tilapia takes about ten minutes to grill to perfection. It takes half that time if you place it directly on the grill.
When the meat is white and opaque and the juices are clear, it is ready to serve. Try wrapping tilapia fillets in aluminum foil with white wine, butter, lemon juice, and julienne-cut vegetables for a delicious summer dinner or cook it directly over a hot grill, with spices rubbed into it, for a tasty blackened tilapia recipe.