Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
1. COCONUT-CURRIED TILAPIA
½ teaspoon Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 red pepper, cut in ¼-inch dice
1 green bell pepper, cut in ¼-inch dice
1½ pounds tilapia fillets
1. Combine the chili paste, soy sauce, coconut milk, honey and lime juice, stirring until the honey and chili paste are dissolved.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high; add the ginger and garlic and cook 30 seconds. Stir in the onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk mixture, lower the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Place fish in skillet in a single layer; spoon a little of the liquid over the fillets, cover pan and cook until fish flakes easily, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 288 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 36 mg protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 293 mg sodium
2. CAJUN-STYLE BLACKENED TILAPIA
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1½ pounds tilapia fillets
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1. Rub 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over all surface areas of the fillets.
2. Combine the cumin, paprika, celery salt, garlic powder, thyme, cayenne, salt and black pepper and sprinkle evenly over all surfaces of the fish. Pat lightly to help the spice blend adhere.
3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron pan over medium high. When the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add the fish in a single uncrowded layer. Cook until a crust forms on the underside and the fish easily lifts from the pan surface, about 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook 2 minutes; lower the heat to medium and continue cooking until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is no longer translucent in the center, about 4-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 211 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 32 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 479 mg sodium
3. TILAPIA WITH AVOCADO-PINEAPPLE SALSA
1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
1 medium tomato, cut into ⅓-inch dice
1 avocado, cut into ⅓-inch dice
½ cup chopped red onion
½ jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1½ pounds tilapia
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or cayenne)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1. Combine pineapple, tomato, avocado, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl; set aside.
2. Season fish on all sides with remaining ½ teaspoon salt, cumin, chipotle chili powder.
3. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add fish and cook 3-4 minutes, until underside is golden. Turn and cook until fish flakes easily with fork, 3-4 more minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Serve with salsa. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 294 calories, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 36 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 531 mg sodium