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High in omega-3 fatty acids and low in fat, tilapia is one of the easiest types of fish to prepare. Its firm, flaky texture holds up well to a variety of cooking methods, and its slightly sweet, mild taste pairs well with a variety of seasonings. While wild tilapia is available, the more commonly found farm-raised tilapia ensures you're selecting fish that are a renewable resource. Poached, broiled, sauteed or baked, the mild taste of tilapia shines best when paired with fresh, delicate-tasting herbs, such as basil.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a small amount of oil in the bottom of the baking dish and set aside.
Remove the leaves from the fresh basil and mince or thinly shred. Longer cooking times are required to release the flavor of dried herbs. As fish typically requires shorter cooking times to ensure a moist fillet, using fresh herbs is best. Fresh herbs also add brightness to the finished dish.
Season the tilapia fillets with basil, salt and pepper.
Arrange the tilapia in a single layer on the baking sheet or in the pan. If the skin is still on the fillets, place the fish skin side down.
Bake the fish, uncovered, until the fillet just starts to flake -- approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the fish over once during the cooking time. Actual times vary by the thickness of the fillets. A good rule is to measure the thickness of the fillet. Bake the fish 10 minutes for every 1 inch, turning over once halfway through the cooking time. The flesh should be opaque or white and feel firm but moist to the touch.
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