Full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, fish is a staple ingredient in many peoples’ diets. However, there are some out there who don’t like seafood—no matter how good the health benefits are.
For some people, it’s the texture that they don’t like; for others, it’s the “fishy” taste that turns them off. This makes sense, as some fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel to name a few) have a distinct flavor. But not all fish taste the same. Hake pollock, sole, cod and other white fish are much more palatable.
Tilapia is especially mild, since it’s a freshwater species. In addition, Tilapia is often raised in clean, pesticide free environments, which further contribute to the fish’s sweet and versatile taste. And that makes it a great option for almost any fish-focused dish.
Still not convinced you (or the picky eaters in your life) can enjoy fish? The below recipes might change your mind.
Crispy Homemade Fish Sticks
This dish proves that fish sticks aren’t just for kids. While the recipe suggests using salmon, you can easily swap in a milder fish like Tilapia instead. Seasoning your protein with pepper, oregano and paprika and then coating it with breadcrumbs and parmesan will mask some of the fishy taste. A dip helps too: try serving these fish sticks with tahini, tzatziki or a classic tartar sauce.
Try the recipe: Crispy Homemade Fish Sticks from The Mediterranean Dish.
Tilapia with Balsamic Butter Sauce
If you love classic Italian flavors, this recipe is a must-try. The balsamic butter sauce perfectly complements the Tilapia’s mild taste—and you can’t go wrong with a side of mashed potatoes. While the recipe calls for snap peas, green beans or asparagus would work just as well.
Try the recipe: Tilapia with Balsamic Butter Sauce from Bon Appétit.
Thai Fish Curry
A lot of Thai dishes are made with chicken or beef, but there are plenty of seafood-based recipes out there. This simple curry, chock full of essential Thai ingredients—coconut milk, ginger, garlic and fish sauce—lets you enjoy the benefits of eating fish without necessarily tasting it.
Try the recipe: Thai Fish Curry from The Endless Meal.
Classic New England Fish Pie
You’ve heard of shepherd’s pie, but have you heard of fish pie? This recipe mixes creamy mashed potatoes, peas and white fish together to make the ultimate comfort food. Pair with a side of steamed carrots or Brussels sprouts, and you’ve got yourself a healthy, filling meal.
Try the recipe: Classic New England Fish Pie from The View from Great Island.
Cantonese Steamed Fish
This recipe is great any day, but especially if you have guests over for dinner—the presentation is guaranteed to impress! Tilapia is among the recommended fish, so grab a couple Regal Springs fillets and start steaming. Soy sauce, ginger, green onions, cilantro and other aromatics create a flavor bomb so that even people who don’t like fish can enjoy this dish. If you and your guests are extra hungry, serve with rice or noodles.
Try the recipe: Cantonese Steamed Fish from The Woks of Life.
Other Tips for Masking Fishy Flavors
Aside from using powerful herbs and spices, there are a few other methods that can help hide the taste of fish and seafood:
- Rub a piece of fish in salt and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. This allows the fish time to absorb another flavor, minimizing its naturally fishy taste.
- Soak fish in milk for 20 minutes. The casein protein in the milk will bind with trimethylamine (TMA)—the compound responsible for fishy odors—and remove it, resulting in a sweeter flavor.
- Use acidic ingredients like lemons, limes and vinegar. This also removes TMA from fish, and is a method for preparing raw dishes like ceviche.
Not everyone enjoys the taste of fish, but these recipes can convince even picky eaters to give Tilapia and other seafood a try. Pairing mild-tasting species with extra-flavorful herbs, spices and sauces is the perfect way to incorporate more fish into your diet.
Trying to cook more fish at home? Learn how appliances like air fryers, spiralizers and slow cookers can take your seafood meals to the next level.
Photo Credits: Chudo2307 / Shutterstock Inc., Mironov Vladimir / Shutterstock Inc., hlphoto / Shutterstock Inc., JM Travel Photography / Shutterstock Inc.