My fridge is quite empty. So this afternoon when I went to find something to do for dinner I was at a loss. I had some frozen tilapia in the fridge, so I got it out to thaw before I went to a meeting. When I got home, I still wasn’t sure what to do with it. So I went on to the Weight Watchers website and typed in tilapia into the recipe finder. It popped up a 5 point recipe for the fish with a white wine sauce. It looked really good, so I decided to give it a try. I had mushrooms in the fridge, so I decided to add those in too. It turns out that it was surprisingly good! Once we tasted it, we turned and looked at each other with raised eyebrows and decided that it was certainly a keeper.
Tilapia is a good choice of fish for families, especially if you have family members who do not like fish. It is a very mild tasting fish, so it picks up the flavors of what it is cooked with. It’s also relatively inexpensive (especially for fish), and you can easily get it frozen.
Another great thing about tilapia is that it can be very sustainably farmed. There is no concern of over fishing or negative impact on ecosystems. Tilapia are a very interesting fish. They can survive in water that many other fish cannot, and it is also easy to grow. Moreover, it can be grown in unique and creative urban agriculture centers, like those of Feed Denver Urban Farms and Markets. As most of us have heard, there are now deserts of fresh foods in the inner city. Supermarkets do not operate in poorer sections of town because they cannot make enough profit. So poor people only have the option of eating unhealthy convenience food. Feed Denver has taken old warehouses in urban Denver and converted them into urban agriculture centers. They use innovative structures to grow plants hydroponically. That water then cycles down to the bottom of the structure, where tilapia grow. The used tilapia water, after being filtered, is then cycled back up to water the plants again. Residents of the neighborhood can come get fresh veggies and fish for their own dinner. It is truly an amazing fish.
When I saw that this was a breaded fish recipe I was surprised. I always associate breading with lots of extra calories that come from both the flour and eggs, along with the fact that they are usually fried. I forgot that you can do a simple dredging of the meat in flour (preferably seasoned) and get a nice, lite, coating that still gives nice color and texture.
Even though this recipe comes out with a lovely delicate flavor that has much more depth than most diet foods, it is really easy. I even think that with a little instruction my husband could make it. (He specializes in chicken pesto pasta and mac n’ cheese from a box). The results of this observation will appear on the blog soon…
Breaded Tilapia with Mushroom and Wine Sauce Points: 6
Problem: Like normal, the recipe was a little bland. Solution: spice it up!
- 4 tilapia filets (we used the frozen kind. They aren’t the freshest (they smell at little fishy, even if they don’t taste it), but they are convenient and inexpensive.
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 large fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dry basil)
- 1/4 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used some canned, diced tomatoes to make it even faster)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp capers, drained
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp italian herbs (or, if you are in my case, a bit of oregano and basil)
- 1/2 c sliced fresh mushrooms (I always prefer cremini).
- 2 Tbsp light butter (yes, real (light) butter!)
- Mix the wine, lemon juice, capers, garlic, basil, a pinch of salt, and tomatoes in a bowl. Set aside.
- Season the fish on both sides with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Mix the flour with the italian herbs in a bowl. Dredge the fish in the flour. It shouldn’t be thickly caked, just nicely dusted.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a sautee pan. Once hot, add the fish and cook 3 min on the first side, or until it browns. Then turn it and cook for 3 more min, until it flakes easily (that’s how you know it’s done). Remove and set aside.
- Take 1/2 a Tbsp of the butter and put it in the pan. Leave all the tasty leftovers in the bottom of the pan to season the sauce. Once the butter melts, toss in the mushrooms to brown. Be warned! The pan is very hot, they will brown quickly. Stir to make sure they brown on both sides.
- Add in the wine mixture and stir it constantly for about 30 seconds–it will start to thicken from the left over flour.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the rest of the butter. Stir until the butter is throughly combined. If the sauce is too thin, add just a touch of flour to thicken it up (it won’t take much). Don’t worry if the sauce is really thick (mine was very thick because there was lots of left over flour in the pan). It just makes it even heartier.
- Spread the sauce over the tilapia and enjoy!