Turns out this mild white fish is one of the easiest, most versatile ingredients to cook with. Here, how to make smarter fish picks.

Sustainability and SafetyAlthough there is controversy over the quality of tilapia imported from China, Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch gives farmed tilapia from China and Taiwan the "good alternative" stamp, while Ecuadorean-, Canadian-, and U.S.-farmed tilapia are listed as "best choice." In general, seek out tilapia from North and South America.

NutritionTilapia is a lean, low-calorie source of protein that's low in saturated fat, so it's a good choice for healthy eating. Although it's not an omega-3 powerhouse like heart-healthy salmon, a 3-ounce portion of cooked tilapia still has 10% of your daily omega-3 needs.

Fresh vs. FrozenIf you plan to serve whole tilapia fillets, go to the fish counter, where the fillets tend to be bigger and prettier than what you'll find in the freezer case. Frozen fillets are smaller, usually around 4 ounces each, and are ideal for recipes that call for the fish to be cut into pieces.

ThawingConsult the package directions for the manufacturer's recommendations. In testing, we found it best to quick-thaw by running cold water over frozen tilapia fillets in a colander for about 10 minutes; we then patted the fish dry with paper towels before proceeding with a recipe.

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