Nile Perch is a “native fish to the Congo, Nile, Senegal, Niger, and Lake Chad, Volta, Lake Turkana and other river basins.” This fish when not caught and allowed to grow, is also one of the largest freshwater fish. I looked it up on the Animal Planet’s website and they state the maximum length as up to 6 ft(1.82 m), and a maximum weight of over 500 lb. or 227 kilos – it’s fishzilla! (The Nile Perch fished for commercial consumption are not this big.) But because of it’s enormous size it is also called a “massive environmental nightmare” because of course something that big needs to feed a lot. This fish is actually quite interesting and if you like to find out more about it I suggest you read the Animal Planet website for more fascinating facts.
Nile Perch is a white fish with semi-firm flesh, that has a mild taste. Due to the mild taste it will absorb well any flavors, spices or sauces used. It also has the highest content of Omega-3 found in fish, and we all know how our bodies need and benefit greatly from Omega-3. If you cannot find Nile Perch for the recipe below try substituting Grouper, Sea Bass, Catfish, or red snapper, per Foodista. In the most recent dietary guidelines released by US goverment they stated that Americans need to eat more fish, so why not start with this recipe. Enjoy!
2 Nile Perch fillets
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Cashew Spicy Pesto Ingredients
3 red Thai chilies, or any fresh hot red chiles
1/2 cup or 70 grams of Cashews
1/4 cup or 20 grams grated Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves , minced
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tbsp. water
1. Preheat the oven to 390f or 200c and line a baking sheet with either aluminum or baking paper and rub with a little olive oil. Pat dry the fish fillets with a paper towel on both sides. Then rub a little olive oil and squeeze some lemon juice on each fillet on both sides. Then sprinkle both fillets with salt and pepper on each side and set on top of baking sheet.
2. Next we will prepare the Cashew pesto, you will need a blender or food processor for this step. Cut the stem off the chili and roughly chop then place inside the blender. Next add the remaining ingredients to the blender container and process until you have a thick and smooth paste.
3. Spread some spicy pesto sauce on top of each fillet and bake for 15 minutes. The fillets should be flaky and cooked through. Decorate with a few slices of fresh chilies and cashews. If you like you may serve the fish with some extra pesto sauce on the side as well as fresh lemon slices. This fish goes great with steamed white rice.