Friday, February 11, 2011

Tilapia Braised with Sundried Tomato Pesto

Week six of my year of fish, and we are back to tilapia.  BTW... I think i am taking GREAT photos of pizzas.  But, fish is not as easy to make look appealing.  Like this shot above.  Wish it looked as good as it tastes, as it tasted wonderful.

Here's a little research for you...

Tilapia is the 5th most farmed fish.  Meaning the Tilapia you are buying is coming from a fish farm.  

While the good news that you are eating fish (Tilapia have very low levels of mercury as they are fast-growing and short-lived with a primarily herbivorous diet, and thus do not accumulate mercury found in prey.  Tilapia is a low saturated fat, low calorie, low carbohydrate and low sodium protein source. It is a source of phosphorus, niacin, selenium, vitamin B12 and potassium.)

The bad news is...  farm raised tilapia (the least expensive and most popular) has a high fat content (though low in saturated fats). According to research published in July 2008, farm raised tilapia may be worse for the heart than eating bacon or a hamburger. The research suggests the nutritional value of farm raised tilapia may be compromised by the amount of corn included in the feed. The corn contains short chain omega-6s that contribute to the buildup of these materials in the fish. "Ratios of long-chain omega-6 to long-chain omega-3, AA to EPA respectively, in tilapia averaged about 11:1, compared to much less than 1:1 (indicating more EPA than AA) in both salmon and trout." Wide spread publicity encouraging people to eat more fish has seen tilapia being purchased by those with lower incomes who are trying to eat a well balanced diet. The lower amounts of omega-3 and the higher ratios of omega-6 compounds in US farmed tilapia raise questions of the health benefits of consuming this fish.

Sigh... Doing the right thing is never easy is it.

But, Tilapia is plentiful, cheap, freezes and transports well, And in moderation, the good will out weigh the bad.

OK... Here's what I did...

2 fillets
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Salt and Pepper to taste

And for the pesto...

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Sundried tomatoes, packed in oil (comes in a jar)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cups finely chopped Walnuts
4 clove Garlic, smashed and minced

And braised with 1/4 cup Coconut Rum

Mix the pesto first.  Then heat the rum to a simmer

Salt and pepper the fish, coat with a layer of grated Parmesan cheese

Cover with the pesto.  Because the tomatoes and walnut pieces are large enough to prevent the fish from touching the pan directly, the fish is braised in the liquid, insuring a moist tend flaky fish... DO NOT OVER COOK YOUR FISH!

Fry each side for about 4 minutes until the fish flakes easily.

Served these up with a wonderful Sweet potato chili grits!


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