The Best Way to Cook Tilefish

by Natalie Smith

    Tilefish live in the Atlantic ocean and they have a diet composed mainly of crab and crustaceans, which gives them a distinct, savory flavor that make children clamor for more. If you're looking for new culinary horizons to expose your kids to, give this easily prepared, high-protein fish a try. You can bake tilefish, but baking takes longer and leaves the fillets less firm. Many recipes also call for frying tilefish fillets. The best way to prepare these fish, both for taste and for nutritional value, is to broil them.

    If you purchase fresh tilefish, look for a firm fillet that springs back quickly when it is pressed. Tilefish are priced according to the size of the fish. Smaller tilefish are usually less expensive and the fillets are smaller. One advantage to the smaller fillets is that they cook more quickly, which is an advantage if you are looking for a fast weeknight meal. Larger tilefish are usually more expensive, but they are cut into thick steaks. These steaks cook more slowly but provide a juicier fillet.

    Thaw your tilefish fillets completely before you cook them by leaving them on a plate covered with plastic wrap in your refrigerator overnight. Check each fillet for bones by pressing gently on the fillets. Remove any small bones that you find with clean needle-nosed pliers or boning tweezers. Then, check the fillets again to ensure that you didn't miss any bones. Children are likely to inadvertently ingest bones, which may present a choking hazard.

    Broiled tilefish is a fast, savory weeknight meal. Brush the tilefish fillets with a light coating of olive oil and add any seasoning of your choice. Tilefish are very versatile, and their mild flavor pairs well with lemon or lime juice, cilantro, pineapple juice, white wine, or garlic. Try a seasoning mix or even a dry mix of your favorite dressing. Broil them for five minutes for a thin fillet measuring 1/2-inch in thickness or less, or for 10 minutes if you are broiling thick steaks. You will know when they are done when the fillets are opaque all the way through and slightly flaky.

    Broiled tilefish suit virtually any side dish you care to pair with them. For a fast weeknight meal, serve the tilefish with fast-cooking brown rice and top the fish with a chunky fruit salsa. Your children will enjoy the sweet salsa on the fillets, and the rice will give them a serving of whole grains. Alternately, if you chose to broil the tilefish with a drizzle of white wine or with garlic, pair them with steamed vegetables tossed with creamy dressing. Vegetables steam quickly and will provide a nutritious side that your whole family will enjoy.

    About the Author

    Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

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