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.

Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Mangoes

My hands are a little beat up today. And Therese’s might be, too.

That’s because last night, we put together about 8 gallons of homemade mango salsa that the Herald crew will be serving tonight at our Relay for Life site in University Park. We cut up mangoes, avocados, roma tomatoes, red onions and cilantro for the better part of four hours, and the result was some of the tastiest salsa I’ve ever eaten.

We’ll be selling samples of the salsa, and I’ll be giving a demo on how to make it at 7:30 p.m., right after the Relay’s opening ceremonies.  Everyone who buys a sample will be given a recipe card so they can make their own later if they so choose.

Last year’s Grand Forks event raised nearly $70,000! Hope to see you there tonight.

And for all of you fish fans out there, here’s a recipe that features tilapia topped with a mango salsa.

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 two 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 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.

Mango Salsa

I’ve really been digging mangoes lately. They’ve been a heck of a buy at only 78 cents apiece at my neighborhood grocery story.

My first encounter with mangoes were the dried kind, which are truly yummy. But since experiencing fresh ones, I’m having a hard time figuring out which one is the best.

I hope there will be some fresh ones around come May 31. That’s when I volunteered to make some mango salsa for the Herald’s Relay for Life team, which we’ll be selling samples of it at our site at University Park. Last year, the Grand Forks event raised nearly $70,000!

While searching around for a good recipe, I came across a tasty sandwich called the Caribbean Grill. It’s a tropical grilled cheese sandwich with a mango salsa, which won grand prize at the "The Search for the Greatest Grilled Cheese Sandwich in America Recipe Contest" in 2004.

With my affection for mangoes and cheese, I can’t wait to try it.

Caribbean Grill
½ mango, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 tablespoons red onion (¼-inch dice)
¼ red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Pinch of sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon curry powder
8 slices fresh Italian bread
8 slices (1 ounce each) Swiss cheese
¼ cup honey mustard
In small bowl, prepare salsa: mix together mango, red onion, bell pepper, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside. (This can be made one day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.) This makes about 1½ cups.
In small bowl, mix butter and curry. Spread 2 tablespoons butter mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices of bread on your work surface, buttered side down. Spread mustard on bread. Place about 2 tablespoons mango salsa on bread, followed by the cheese. (You may need to fold cheese slices to fit bread.) Place remaining 4 bread slices on top, buttered side up.
Add remaining curry butter to nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat 2 minutes. Put sandwiches in skillet (in batches if necessary), cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until undersides are golden brown and cheese has begun to melt. Uncover and turn sandwiches with spatula, pressing very firmly. Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until bread is golden brown and cheese has melted. Turn once more, press with spatula and cook 30 seconds. Remove from pan and let cool 3 to 5 minutes. Cut diagonally and serve with extra salsa on the side.
Yield: 4 sandwiches.