Learning to Love Fish (or at least enjoy it)

I like food. I love fruits and vegetables. My favorite meat is chicken, though I like cows, pigs, bison, ducks, deer, rabbits, and squirrels too. I’m not picky.

Except for this: I dislike things that can breathe underwater. I never learned to appreciate seafood [1].

My dislike of seafood is not just a whim. I’ve tried shrimp, octopus, crab, lobster, flounder, salmon, trout, catfish, bass, halibut, oysters, scallops, clams, eel, tuna, and whatever is in fishsticks (and many of those things I’ve tried on numerous occasions). They taste fishy to me.

But the health benefits of eating fish cannot be denied. So I have decided to try my best to develop a taste for fish. I don’t know if I can handle tackling all seafood at once, so for the moment I am not including shellfish. I have talked to people and done internet research to establish a gradient across species of the fishiness in the taste of fish. I’ve decided to start mild and work my way up.

This week I purchased two pounds of tilapia fillets. Before today I had never made a fish entree. That ended at dinner, when I made pepper-lime pan seared tilapia.

My first fish entree: Pepper-lime pan seared tilapia.

I like simple recipes that do not require an inordinate number of ingredients. I also like experimenting. For this meal I glanced at the recommended pan searing method suggested on the package that came with the tilapia, then went for it. I sprinkled black pepper over the fillets, dusted them with flour, then seared them in olive oil at medium high heat for about four minutes on each side. Then I reduced the heat, added a bit more pepper and squeezed fresh lime juice over the fillets (they sizzled nicely). As a side I tossed green beans and grape tomatoes in a pan with a little butter and pepper, then squeezed some lime juice over them after they had sizzled for a few minutes.

I can legitimately say I enjoyed dinner, which is a promising start to fostering appreciation for fish. I’ll continue to work at it, in a few months maybe I won’t be ordering the one token chicken entree that is served at most seafood restaurants.

What fish do you think is the fishiest fish?

[1] My usual comment is that my favorite seafood is a snorkeling cow.

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