Our always informed Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, encores with his “Ask the Chef” series. Tilapia is one of those better-for-you fish that just doesn’t get enough deserved respect or visibility. It’s slowly changing. Tilapia can be successfully farm-raised in a healthy, pristine environment.
Tilapia is mild tasting and versatile for use in a lot of satisfying recipes. The fish is also hugely affordable. Chef Andrew reels the specifics in for us.
Tilapia is particularly appreciated in the Asian and Hispanic communities but needs more love in the United States. It’s flavorful, easy-to-prepare and value priced. It’s been called the “aqua-chicken.”
Our resident seafood authority and Co-Host, Chef Andrew Gruel, provides the informed perspective with no fish tales.
“Tilapia has progressively grown in popularity since 2002 when it first entered the top ten list of the most frequently consumed seafood products in the United States. It’s the third most popular aquaculture or farm raised seafood product behind shrimp and salmon. Since 2006, Americans have consumed over 1 pound of tilapia per person each year. Predictions suggest it will remain a popular selection due to its mild flavor and taste, versatility in preparation, and competitive prices.”
“Tilapia is a sustainable farm-raised product. Because tilapia are herbivorous fish that feed on algae, there is no need for feeds produced from wild caught fish. Raising tilapia in some ponds or other small water bodies can actually help improve the quality of waters compromised by excessive algae blooms. Some farming operations are using a technique called aquaponics to cultivate fish and vegetables or herbs together to produce two or more products in the same water based system.”
When it comes to fresh seafood the term “Organic” is starting to be thrown around quite regularly as a buzzword. With fish and other seafood what does organic really mean? Are there even accepted standards for using this on a label? We’ll find out…
Our own resident seafood authority, Chef Andrew Gruel, will clear the haze for us on this one.
The United States Department of Agriculture sets the standards in the United States for what “Organic” means. Unfortunately, these standards have not been established for seafood. In other words when you see the label “Organic” on fresh seafood in America it’s meaningless.
Next there is the issue of whether wild caught seafood could ever be labeled organic. Since you can’t control what the fish ate before being caught the answer is “probably not.” Know your seafood supplier…
Most of the seafood we consume in the United States is now safely farm-raised. Can this ever conceptually be organic? Possibly, if the fish is raised on vegetarian, organic feed.