For eating fish, here are four commandments.
- For optimum health, serve it at least once or twice a week.
- Select the kinds of fish and seafood your family likes and that fit your budget.
- Avoid fish that is high in PCBs and mercury.
- If you are environmentally minded, pick fish that is not endangered and is raised or caught in an eco-friendly way.
For most of us, that leaves few choices.
Shrimp, the seafood Americans love most, is mostly imported from Asia, where the farming practices used have been declared ecologically destructive by the Environmental Defense Fund.
Sardines are the most ecologically and heart-friendly, but good luck getting your family to eat them.
Arctic char and fresh wild salmon, two other fish recommended on the informative little pocket-size guide offered by the EDF at their website, can be challenging to serve regularly for cost reasons.
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Farmed salmon, rich in both health benefits and flavor, is more affordable and is popular despite the issue of poor production practices.
Tilapia, however, is both affordable and a sound ecological choice when farmed in the United States. Cooking it, though, can be challenging because it tastes bland. A fabulous way to change that is this flavorful dry rub, a blend of spices North African cooks use on fish.
To complement the tilapia and create a complete dish, serving it on a bed of steamed or sauteed spinach is perfection.
Moroccan Baked Tilapia
Makes 4 servings.
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. sweet Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 lb. (about 4 pieces) tilapia
- Cilantro or parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- In small bowl, whisk together cumin, paprika, coriander, salt, black pepper and cayenne until combined. Pat pieces of fish dry with paper towels. Coat fish on both sides with cooking spray, and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle each filet liberally on both sides with spice mixture, using about one-quarter for each piece of fish.
- Bake fish 12 to 15 minutes without turning, or until opaque white in center at thickest point and flakes easily. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
2 g total fat
1 g saturated fat
0 g carbohydrate
23 g protein
0 g dietary fiber
350 mg sodium