The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Kids Make Tropical Fish Casserole

April 24th, 2009 · 4 Comments · Posted in Recipes

This week our food appreciation classes traveled to Costa Rica on our virtual world food tour. One of the most peaceful and stable democracies south of the border (Costa Rica has no standing army), it is situated between the Caribbean on the east and Pacific Ocean on the west, an ideal locale for fish lovers. This casserole incorporates a classic Latin combination of rice, beans and tomatoes with sustainable fish and tropical flavors of lime and orange.

Here’s a simple meal with big flavors that requires very little time to make.

Read more great stories about how we are taking back the food system at Fight Back Fridays.

Recipe: Tropical Fish Casserole


  1. 1 cup brown basmati rice
  2. Extra-virgin olive oil juice from 3 limes
  3. 1 cup cilantro leaves
  4. 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  5. salt
  6. 1 pound U.S. farmed catfish fillets (or tilapia)
  7. 1 small onion, cut into medium dice
  8. 2 large seedless oranges, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  9. 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  10. 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  11. 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  12. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  13. dash cayenne pepper to taste


  1. Place rice in a saucepan with 2 cups water and a dash of salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until rice is tender. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, make a marinade by mixing 2 tablespoons olive oil with lime juice, salt, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic and 1/4 cup cilantro leaves.
  3. Place fish fillets in a shallow casserole and cover with marinade. Set aside.
  4. In a saucepan over moderate heat, saute onion and remaining garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil until onion is soft, about 8 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, mix sauteed onion with oranges, diced tomatoes, beans, oregano, remaining cilantro, pepper and cayenne.
  6. Spread cooked rice in bottom of oven-proof casserole. Cover with bean mixture and lightly mix into rice.
  7. Lay fish fillets on top of rice and beans. Pour remaining marinade over fish and place in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

CulinaryTradition: Central American

My rating: 3.5 stars

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  • fastweedpuller

    “Rich Coast” indeed! I am glad the kids are willing to try fish.

    My daughter (who’s 5) hasn’t really eaten much fish in her life due to both the extremely local nature of our diet as well as our concern for the state of our oceans…and how far the fish has to come to us in Michigan. (Local fish is too mercury and PCB-laden for more than yearly consumption due to her age.) However, she and I just watched the entirety of Two Fat Ladies (which you should see with your daughter: it’s so fun) and she is suddenly fish-curious! We went to a great local restaurant that purchases things according to the Monterey Bay list and she *loved* her mackerel! And then her grandma brought her some farmed tilapia from Chicago. I told her we need to move to the coast to continue her habit though!

  • Ed Bruske

    El, your daughter is one step ahead of me. I keep threatening to make mackerel but never seem to get around to it. It’s also great pickled. It’s not always easy to find in the store without driving a considerable distance. Sometimes our local Whole Foods carries it. Sometimes they have fresh sardines. But it’s not a regular item. These oily fish lower down on the food chain are not only sustainable (so far) but they are a great source of omega-3, which we all need more of.

  • maggie

    Hmm, I wonder how the local trout I have in the freezer would do with this? It might be worth a try.

  • Ed Bruske

    Maggie, you are so lucky to have a greenhouse. There are so many things I would grow in a greenhouse. It would change the way we eat. I will be posting soon about life without carbohydrates. Or at least life without a lot of starchy carbohydrates. I am feeling great. I don’t miss them. I’ve tightened my belt several notches….