Chrysalis Cooks: Fish Story

Fish is sort of a perfect food--very low in fat, very high in nutrients and beneficial oils, pretty much all protein.  Yet I always find myself giving the side-eye when I'm near the seafood case.  I feel suspicious of any fish that doesn't hit my table within a few hours of being caught, both because it has such a short shelf life and because I'm afraid of cooties.  And it's pricy so you don't want to guess wrong.  I'm also spoiled, having lived on the beach and watched my lunch arrive in nets directly in front of me--I have literally been told that my meal would take an extra few minutes because the fish was still in the ocean.

Alas, when our seas become mere mud puddles and the green tapestry of the natural world is but a distant memory, we will need to adjust expectations and embrace the limited aquaculture we can sustain from our bunkers.  And you know who really rocks a bunker tank?  Tilapia.

Tilapia has a terrible reputation, but its failings are mostly myth born of farming practices that aren't actually widespread.  People say it has a "muddy" flavor, but experts give it a high rating for clean taste and flaky texture in a blind test, bested only by Red Snapper.  But because people mistakenly believe it's a crappy fish, you can get it for suuuuuper cheap!  And you should.  Honduran Tilapia is the best, but American is fine too.  It's even good after being flash frozen.

I routinely get a 3-person supply of Tilapia for a couple bucks.  I saute it with garlic, lemon, and olive oil, 4 minutes on each side, and it's absolutely delicious.  Perfect with some steamed broccoli.  If I need to crunch, I rinse and pat it dry (this is crucial), salt and pepper well, then dip in egg and then panko and fry.  I mean...yum.  Go nuts with the lemon and garlic; you can't go wrong.

While Tilapia doesn't have the omega levels of salmon or sardines, it does all the other stuff fish does, and it's about ten thousand times cheaper (rough estimate).  It also has the added benefit of NOT BEING A SARDINE.  It goes with everything, doesn't taste fishy, cooks in minutes, and fills you up for only a few calories.  Don't let Tilapia develop an inferiority complex--let it know you think it's great by feasting on its tender flesh today.