Creative Ways with Seafood

by Bev Laumann

When the weather warms it’s refreshing to just go outside and get some exercise… which starts me thinking of lighter meals with less fat or sugar. Seafood is generally low in fat, high in protein and makes excellent light meals when paired with spring vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts or snap peas.

As salad toppings, seafood adds flavor interest as well as being a great source of vitamins, phosphorus for bones, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. I like to think creatively about  seafood and salad greens. Have leftover fish sticks? Chop the breaded pollock into 1-inch pieces for the salad. You can also add cooked salmon, haddock, and whiting. You can even toss on some cooked chopped clams, then drizzle the salad with olive oil, toss, and sprinkle on dried basil and a bit of garlic powder.

Wary of acidic bottled salad dressings?  No problem—just a little olive oil on your seafood-topped salad makes any tasty dried herb cling. Basil, oregano, or thyme gives a flavor kick and pairs well with many types of fish as well as greens. If you’re ready to brave a bit of vinegar, make your own simple oil and vinegar dressing, but just be sure to pop a couple of Prelief tablets before enjoying your seafood topped salad!

Lunches are another opportunity to enjoy the health benefits of seafood. Canned light tuna is a delicious sandwich choice, though due to the mercury level, the EPA recommends eating only about 6 ounces per week (1 can) for women of childbearing age. So sometimes I substitute leftover cooked catfish or wild-caught salmon for the tuna in the recipe below.

Can you substitute one fish for another in favorite recipes? Low-fat fish (such as tilapia or petrale sole) tends to have light or white colored flesh and is milder in taste. The darker flesh of salmon or mackerel indicates more fat but also a fuller flavor. Make substitutions from the same group of fish.

How to reduce strong fish taste? Soak the filets overnight in milk, then drain it off before cooking. Milk will draw out much of the strong taste, making the flavor milder.

Concerned about mercury in seafood or overfishing? The Natural Resources Defense Council Consumer Guide to Mercury in Fish shares more than twenty delicious varieties listed in the “Least Mercury” category.

Concerned about overfishing and protecting the oceans? The famous Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Super Green List” highlights eleven of the best healthy-choice varieties of seafood. They also have a Seafood Watch App (for iPhone & Android) thath will put the information at your fingertips as you shop!

Enjoy spring! – Bev Laumann