Learning to (Almost) Love Fish!


I grew up on a farm in central Iowa, so as a little girl my experiences with fish involved a simple menu of choices. Mom served us fish sticks and the school lunchroom served the occasion fish patty. For a special treat, we went to the nearest city for Long John Silvers.

We also went fishing in ponds and lakes during the summer, so there was often a fish fry when we returned home from family vacations. Other than that, fresh seafood was just not that readily available in our grocery stores.

Needless to say, as an adult, my exposure to quality seafood has expanded greatly. For the longest time, I carried the ongoing dislike for seafood. I was hesitant to try it in restaurants and simply passed it up while shopping for groceries.

In recent years, after hearing all the health benefits of including more seafood in my diet, I reconsidered my aversion to fish. It all started when fish was served for dinner at a friends’ house. It was the main course, so I politely nibbled at mine. Surprisingly, it was pretty good!

The friend had grilled halibut, which didn’t taste “fishy” at all (my main dislike) and the texture wasn’t mushy (my number two concern). So, with this positive experience under my belt, I ventured off to try some new recipes.

So far, my husband and I have tried a couple of recipes with tilapia. It is a mild fish and easy to prepare. One new favorite is Seasoned Tilapia Fillets. They are baked in the oven and really couldn’t be simpler. I like that they don’t make our whole house smell like fish.

If you need a healthy, keep-it-simple solution to dinner tonight, you just found it. This restaurant-quality dish relys on everyday spices to deliver big flavor. —Dana Alexander, Lebanon, Missouri

If you need a healthy, keep-it-simple solution to dinner tonight, you just found it. This restaurant-quality dish relys on everyday spices to deliver big flavor. —Dana Alexander, Lebanon, Missouri

Ingredients

  • 2 tilapia fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon steak seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash garlic powder

Directions

  • Place fillets in a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Drizzle with butter. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; sprinkle over fillets.
  • Cover and bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-8 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yield: 2 servings.

Another fun way to enjoy fish is in fish tacos. My husband and I were recently on a short vacation in Arizona, and we had fish tacos served in homemade white corn tortillas with a light coleslaw on top. I loved the crunch from the slaw.

Taste of Home has several fish taco recipes including these popular Fish Tacos with Avocado Sauce. Talk about “feel good” food. These are loaded with good-for-you ingredients.

“I grew up in Alaska where halibut was readily available for recipes like this. A good friend, who normally doesn’t eat fish, went back for fourth helpings of these flavorful tacos.” —Cortney Claeson, Spokane, Washington

“I grew up in Alaska where halibut was readily available for recipes like this. A good friend, who normally doesn’t eat fish, went back for fourth helpings of these flavorful tacos.” —Cortney Claeson, Spokane, Washington

 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound halibut or tilapia fillets

SAUCE:

  • 2 medium ripe avocados, divided
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • Dash cayenne pepper

SALSA:

  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

TACOS:

  • 8 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage

Directions

  • In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the lemon juice, oil and garlic. Add the halibut; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • For sauce and salsa, peel and cube avocados. In a small bowl, mash 1/4 cup avocado. Stir in the remaining sauce ingredients. Place remaining avocado in a small bowl; stir in the remaining salsa ingredients. Refrigerate sauce and salsa until serving.
  • Drain fish and discard marinade. Broil halibut 4-6 in. from the heat for 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Place fish on the center of each tortilla. Top each with 1/4 cup cabbage, about 1 tablespoon sauce and 1/4 cup salsa. Yield: 4 servings.

Who knows, maybe I’ll become a seafood lover after all. What are your favorite Taste of Home seafood dishes? I’d love to hear!

Karen Davis, Culinary Specialist, Taste of Home Cooking School

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