T Nation

It Sounds Fishy To Me...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/07/AR2007080700470.html

Why I cringe everytime I hear people say that Tilapia is their favorite fish…

Since the rise in popularity of Tilapia chefs all over the country are trying to come to grips with the fact that mainstream people in the U.S. really don’t like the taste of “fish”.

Sounds “fishy” to me!

For diet reasons it’s a great fish. So easy to cook with some steamed veggies. As far as cooking for taste it ranks up there with chicken. Both are bland as hell unless you do some serious work to them!

There are so many other great white fish, I dunno why people don’t choose other fish!

Since Tilapia sp. are freshwater fish, I don’t see how they can be classified as seafood, though some species are farmed in saltwater - these guys are really tough.

DJ

I was eating shit loads of it for a while cuz it’s cheap but I’ve recently developed a fear of it when I realized almost all of it is farmed in China.

I liked this part of the article…

But that’s not Shen’s only reason for serving them. “They are tough, consistent and the only fish that survives in the tank,” he says. “Try that with a rockfish, and they are upside down.”

And what’s with the pendantry concerning seafood?

I like tilapia, but it certainly isn’t my favorite.

Hey Chef Lisa,

I heard my uncle (also a chef) discussing tilapia with an aunt and he made the statement that it is a “junk” fish. Any idea what he was talking about?

[quote]mt360 wrote:
Hey Chef Lisa,

I heard my uncle (also a chef) discussing tilapia with an aunt and he made the statement that it is a “junk” fish. Any idea what he was talking about?[/quote]

As far as I know “junk fish” is a fisherman’s term for fish that you would throw back or throw away. Tilapia used to be the fish that they would throw back before it became sellable to restaurants and now direct to consumers.

Most of the Tilapia is now farm raised.

Tilapia is also a very popular fish used in Aquaponics. In aquaponics, the fish waste provides a food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the fish. This creates a mini ecosystem where both plants and fish can thrive. Aquaponics is the ideal answer to a fish farmers problem of disposing of nutrient rich water and a hydroponic growers need for nutrient rich water.

I find this technique quite interesting after working for a few years at a sustainable agriculture and aquiponics farm. The farm grew Tilapia in large tanks that ‘fed’ the micro greens they grew hydroponically. They also grew heirloom farm animals like Highland and Devon Beef and Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth and Large Black Swine. They started a restaurant and I worked with another woman from the Culinary to help they utilize and market their farm animals, vegetables and fish. It was a pretty amazing experience.

Although, I still don’t care for the blandness of Tilapia and it certainly isn’t my first choice for fish when it comes to texture and flavor.

Meh. I love fish in general but find it too expensive most of the time. Tilipia goes for as much as lean ground beef at my supermarket and, sure, it’s bland. But no worse than chicken breast or canned tuna.

i like tilapia - i cook it chinese style - steam it, then top it with some dark soy (deeper, richer flavor), green onions & slivers of ginger, heat up some good oil and pour over fish. yummm…mighty tasty then!

i read somewhere that dark soy sauce is actually quite healthy as it is much more fermented than other soy sauces.

[quote]SGDerek wrote:
Meh. I love fish in general but find it too expensive most of the time. Tilipia goes for as much as lean ground beef at my supermarket and, sure, it’s bland. But no worse than chicken breast or canned tuna.[/quote]

Frozen filets are actually just as good as far as freshness goes as fresh fish in your average grocery store. Most frozen IQF (individually quick frozen) filets are processed and frozen at sea, if it’s a wild caught, or processed and frozen within an hour of catching if it’s farm raised. Check the frozen section of your fish market or grocery store for individually wrapped filets. They are much less expensive if you are eating lots of fish.

[quote]Chef Lisa Marie wrote:
SGDerek wrote:
Meh. I love fish in general but find it too expensive most of the time. Tilipia goes for as much as lean ground beef at my supermarket and, sure, it’s bland. But no worse than chicken breast or canned tuna.

Frozen filets are actually just as good as far as freshness goes as fresh fish in your average grocery store. Most frozen IQF (individually quick frozen) filets are processed and frozen at sea, if it’s a wild caught, or processed and frozen within an hour of catching if it’s farm raised. Check the frozen section of your fish market or grocery store for individually wrapped filets. They are much less expensive if you are eating lots of fish. [/quote]

I wonder if the results are skewed by midwest states who only have limited exposure to salt water fish, usually consisting of the cheap and plentiful species.

Tilapia is not a fish many people in coastal areas enjoy from what i’ve seen. Redfish, sea trout, snapper, ling, king mackeral (my personal fav), flounder etc are much more desired, at least in s.e. texas. ordering tilapia would be like taking salisbury steak over a sirloin.

[quote]Chef Lisa Marie wrote:
mt360 wrote:
Hey Chef Lisa,

I heard my uncle (also a chef) discussing tilapia with an aunt and he made the statement that it is a “junk” fish. Any idea what he was talking about?

As far as I know “junk fish” is a fisherman’s term for fish that you would throw back or throw away. Tilapia used to be the fish that they would throw back before it became sellable to restaurants and now direct to consumers.

Most of the Tilapia is now farm raised.

Tilapia is also a very popular fish used in Aquaponics. In aquaponics, the fish waste provides a food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the fish. This creates a mini ecosystem where both plants and fish can thrive. Aquaponics is the ideal answer to a fish farmers problem of disposing of nutrient rich water and a hydroponic growers need for nutrient rich water.

I find this technique quite interesting after working for a few years at a sustainable agriculture and aquiponics farm. The farm grew Tilapia in large tanks that ‘fed’ the micro greens they grew hydroponically. They also grew heirloom farm animals like Highland and Devon Beef and Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth and Large Black Swine. They started a restaurant and I worked with another woman from the Culinary to help they utilize and market their farm animals, vegetables and fish. It was a pretty amazing experience.

Although, I still don’t care for the blandness of Tilapia and it certainly isn’t my first choice for fish when it comes to texture and flavor. [/quote]

“As far as I know “junk fish” is a fisherman’s term for fish that you would throw back or throw away.”

This is correct.

Speaking of fish… how is orange roughy in terms of nutritional value compared to salmon and other more popular (and expensive) varieties? I definitely don’t care for fishy tasting fish, and orange roughy is pretty bland.

Shrug. I live in Oregon - it isn’t a landlocked phenomenon. But salmon’s a solid $9 a pound whereas beef and tilipia go for about $5. With nearly every scrap of my job’s paychecks going towards food and a few scraps for a social life, a 80% difference in price is quite a bit for me.