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When fish goes swimming in beer

Fish is an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but it's easy to dilute what good you get from it by deep-frying it or cooking it in pools of butter.

A better way to get plenty of flavor without sacrificing the health benefits is braising. This simple cooking technique involves a quick sear in a hot pan, followed by a slow simmer in a flavorful liquid, such as stock, wine, or even beer.

When braising, cooking times should be adjusted according to the main ingredient - shorter for delicate vegetables and fish, and longer for tougher meats and poultry.

Braises can be done on the stovetop or in the oven, and very little added fat is needed. A successful braised dish will derive its flavor from the melding of foods and cooking liquid.

The result is a moist, succulent meal. In this recipe, tilapia, mushrooms, and tomatoes are braised in beer. It has just 1 tablespoon of added fat - olive oil. Most of the rest of the fat in the dish comes from the fish itself.

This dish gets a robust and piquant character from the combination of spicy chili powder, acidic tomatoes, earthy mushrooms, and the malted flavor of the beer.

Tilapia or catfish are good choices for this recipe because they are firm and mild. You'll want to serve this dish with rice or some good crusty bread to absorb all the delicious sauce.

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