Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Mango Salsa

Most people don’t think of salsa in the spring. That’s probably because the type of salsa they are most familiar with is the homemade variety that has a tomato base. And, as we all know, there are not many ripe home-grown tomatoes around here this time of the year.

But there are a lot of other kinds of salsa that don’t require tomatoes that are just as tasty, especially those made with fruit and other vegetables.

May is National Salsa Month, so why not try the following recipe, which combines tilapia with a spicy mango salsa that is sure to win friends.

This recipe is very healthy, too. Fish, of course, is generally low in calories, and the American Heart Association says eating it is a good way to get in servings of lean protein. And the fruit salsa contains mangoes, a good source of vitamin C.

Also of  nutritional value are two other ingredients — avocado and black beans. Avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fats, the ones that benefit good (HDL) cholesterol and help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. And the black beans are an excellent source of fiber.

Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Mango Salsa
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Roma tomatoes, washed, diced
1 ripe medium mango, seed removed, peeled and diced
½ cup diced red onion
1 medium avocado, halved, pitted, diced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup canola oil, divided
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder or favorite chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
Sea salt to taste
4 skinless tilapia fillets (about 4 ounces each)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a heat-proof platter on the middle rack of the oven.
In a medium bowl, combine the beans, tomatoes, mango, red onion, avocado, lime juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, cilantro and black pepper; toss gently. Let the salsa sit at room temperature while you cook the fish.
In a small bowl, mix ¼ teaspoon black pepper with the chili powder, cumin, oregano and about ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste. Rub both sides of the tilapia fillets with the mixture.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons 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 2 fillets. Transfer the fillets to the platter, and spoon half of the salsa on top. Serve with the remaining salsa on the side.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 402 calories, 39 percent of calories from fat, 18 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 33 grams carbohydrates, 31 grams protein, 278 milligrams sodium, 57 milligrams cholesterol, 82 milligrams calcium, 12 grams fiber.