It’s said that St. Peter and the crew probably fished for tilapia during biblical times. The fish Jesus ate while sitting on the beach after the Resurrection could have been the same fish that is America’s new favorite, perfectly appropriate for a Friday in Lent. If you like a lot of spice, this recipe is for you!
St. Peter’s Spicy Fish Seasoning
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste (I like it hot)
In an empty spice jar or small bowl, make the blackening seasoning by combining all of the above dry spices. The mix stores great for as many fish dinners as you can cover.
To cook the fish:
Heat a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) on high for a few minutes. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a plate with the seasoning on top and coat both sides of thin tilapia (or other mild fish) fillets with the mixture. You may want to add a little water to the fish if the cornmeal isn’t sticking. Sear fillets in hot skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side (until they are blackened and cooked through). I love the flavor of the cast iron skillet and a little butter, ghee, or refined coconut oil. You know fish is done when it flakes when you put a fork in it and lift up.
A Problem with Tilapia:
Although my fish-hating husband started allowing tilapia to be served last year because he knew he needed to increase his omega 3 intake, unfortunately, I now have learned that tilapia has more omega 6s than omega 3s. It’s not what I’m looking for! The tilapia in Christ’s era was probably quite healthy, but farmed tilapia that we find in our grocery stores eats too much corn, which is high in omega 6s. Americans eat way too much omega 6. I need a new bland white fish that I can cut super thin and cover in seasoning, that is also safely and sustainably fished.
Here are some excellent resources about tilapia, farmed fish, eco-friendly fish and healthy-for-you fish:
- U.S. Farmed tilapia is "best choice" for the environment, says Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. However, only 10% of tilapia sold in the U.S. is farmed here. Read The Nourishing Gourmet’s thorough post on why tilapia is still not a good choice.
- Research from Wake Forest University shows that farmed tilapia, catfish higher in omega-6 fatty acids than lean ground beef, doughnuts. This "could be a potentially dangerous food source for some patients with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other allergic and auto-immune diseases that are particularly vulnerable to an "exaggerated inflammatory response."
- So what fish SHOULD we eat?? Check out the Super Green Fish List from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch: fish that are BOTH good for the environment and high in omega 3s. Unfortunately, there aren’t many basic, low-on-the-fishy-flavor white fish on there.
- You can also download a regional safe fish list, which is really helpful for me in the Great Lakes State. Tilapia is still on the happy list, but the omega 6s say otherwise.
- Kimi has a great post on what considerations to take to choose safe, healthy fish.
Copyright 2010 Katie Kimball
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