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Do you like Ranch dressing? Do you smother everything you eat in it? Good news! Now you can do that to your fish and still have it be healthy.
There are a number of reasons that I use tilapia when I cook fish.
- I don't like fish and tilapia is a very bland fish.
- Tilapia is a very bland fish, so even if it's frozen fillets from Costco, it won't taste overly fishy.
- It's a bland fish so you can cook it almost anyway that you want.
- It's a lot cheaper than most other fish.
- It's pretty healthy.
A lot of people choose to grill their tilapia or cook it in a skillet, but I bake it in tinfoil in the oven. Why do I do this? Because, as I said so frequently above, tilapia is a very bland fish. When you cook something on the grill or in a skillet, it's very easy for flavor to drip or steam away. When it's being baked in tinfoil, it's literally baking in it's own juices, which makes this very bland fish much more flavorful than it would otherwise be. It also allows you to overwhelm the little bit of fishiness that's there with lots of flavor.
As I mentioned in the recipe, you don't have to use thawed tilapia for this recipe. You just have to up your cooking time by another 10 minutes and all will be well. This means that you can can spend an hour on a Saturday preparing a lot of these different tilapia packets and then pull them out of the freezer when you get home from work, and in the same time it takes for a chicken pot pie to cook, you have delicious, healthy fish.
I eat my tilapia with a nice side of brown rice and green beans.
Here are some notes to keep in mind when cooking this recipe:
- If your're going to thaw tilapia, do it in warm water or in the fridge. If you microwave it then it starts to cook the fish. This means that you then have to cook all of it immediately (for food safety reasons) and it will make the texture a lot more rubbery and it will accentuate the taste of not fresh fish.
- As mentioned before, you can freeze the prepared foil packets until you're ready to cook them.
- Make sure that the flesh of the fish pulls apart easily. Lots of ovens aren't properly set, and if yours cooks low then you might end up consuming not fully cooked fish.
- You dice onion and tomato ahead of time and freeze it before you use it in a recipe. Just make sure that you add an extra couple minutes to the cook time since this will lower the temperature of the thawed tilapia.
- Remember: if you thaw frozen onion it'll turn soft and liquidy. It's great for flavor still, but the texture will be off unless you cook it immediately while it's still frozen.
- You can buy Ranch seasoning at the grocery store in pre-made packets. I use the dip packets if I want a thicker sauce for the fish.