Test Kitchen recipe: Chili-rubbed tilapia with mango salsa

Tilapia is inexpensive and easy to cook and has a mild flavor. If you’re trying to get more fish in your diet, tilapia is an easy one to start with. Because it’s semi-firm, tilapia holds up well to all cooking methods. And its mild flavor works well with a variety of seasonings, from savory herb to today’s chili rub.

The salsa, a mix of fruit and vegetables, cools down the mild chili flavor. And the salsa also adds nutritional value. There’s fiber from the black beans; the avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are thought to raise good (HDL) cholesterol and reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. The mango in the salsa also provides vitamin C. You can use peaches or nectarines if you like.

This recipe, start to finish, is ready in about 30 minutes. Pair it with a side salad for a complete meal.


Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

This recipe is an excellent source of fiber with 12 grams per serving.

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

3 Roma tomatoes, washed, diced

1 ripe medium mango, seed removed, peeled and diced

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 medium avocado, halved, pitted, diced

3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/4 cup canola oil, divided

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. ancho chili powder or favorite chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican)

Sea salt to taste

4 skinless tilapia fillets (about 4 ounces each)

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a heat-proof platter on the middle rack of the oven.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, tomatoes, mango, red onion, avocado, lime juice, 2 Tbsp. canola oil, cilantro and black pepper; toss gently. Let the salsa sit at room temperature while you cook the fish.

3. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 tsp. black pepper with the chili powder, cumin, oregano and about 1/2 tsp. sea salt or to taste. Rub both sides of the tilapia fillets with the mixture.

4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. canola oil over medium-high heat until hot. Working in batches, cook two of the tilapia fillets until lightly browned and the flesh is opaque and cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the fish to the platter in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining two fillets. Transfer the fillets to the platter, and spoon half of the salsa on top. Serve with the remaining salsa on the side.

Adapted from “Fine Cooking Fresh” by the editors of Fine Cooking magazine (The Taunton Press, $19.95). Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

402 calories (39 percent from fat), 18 g fat (2 g sat. fat), 33 g carbohydrates, 31 g protein, 278 mg sodium, 57 mg cholesterol, 82 mg calcium, 12 g fiber.