Tilapia is a mild, low-fat, white fish that is rather inexpensive and widely available in most food stores and restaurants these days. I recently received a question regarding tilapia’s health value relative to salmon, which seems to be the most popular fish due to it’s high omega-3 content and widely-accepted protective heart benefits. Tilapia is certainly a healthy choice for those who are sensitive to more strongly flavored fish (such as salmon), but, since tilapia is raised in warmer waters, and therefore is lower in fat, you will not be getting a substantial amount of omega-3. But that doesn’t mean tilapia is not worth eating. As long as it is prepared in a healthy manner (i.e. not deep fried or smothered in butter), it is a worthy substitute for higher fat protein sources, such as beef, pork, and lamb. I recently experimented with some tilapia fillets and was pleasantly surprised that my finicky-fish-fearing husband enjoyed it too. Shocking! So, I figured if he liked it, other fussy fish eaters may like it too 😉
This fish is very easy to prepare and cook on the grill (in foil packets) for 10 minutes. For those of you who fret over cooking fish, you can’t go wrong when you wrap each fillet in its own foil packet. No need to worry about the fish flaking off through the grates on the grill! (been there…done that…) As usual, I am not going to note specific measurements for each ingredient, as I just gather the seasonings and have fun with it. I encourage you to do the same. As long as you like all the seasonings listed, you really can’t go wrong, and each time you make it, it will be a new experience. You can also experiment with herbs other than parsley and make this recipe all your own. Enjoy!
Tilapia fish fillets (if buying frozen, thaw ahead of time)
parsley (dried or fresh)
extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
salt and pepper
1. Preheat grill on high.
2. Cut out the same number of pieces of foil as you have fish, large enough so you can completely enclose each fillet.
3. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on each piece of foil to keep fish from sticking.
4. Placed thawed fish on foil.
5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired (I add extra pepper and go very light on the salt).
6. In a small bowl, mix some EVOO with parsley and lemon juice, and spread or brush over each fillet.
7. Create foil packets by wrapping edges completely around fillets.
8. Grill 10-12 minutes over high heat, or until fish flakes easily.
Open foil packets carefully to allow steam to escape, and TA-DA! Dinner is done!
You can substitute real butter for the olive oil, or do a little blend of the two if you so desire. Just remember, olive oil is healthier for your heart and cholesterol levels, so if you are going to cook with fat, it is always best to choose the healthiest option. And, to keep calories to a minimum, you will want to use all fats sparingly, including olive oil.
I serve this fish with minted peas and redskin potatoes. ENJOY!