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It’s National Seafood Month and at Pacific Seafood we are aiming to take the fright out of purchasing and preparing seafood. Feedback from consumers is that purchasing seafood is confusing and cooking it is difficult. But armed with tips for our seafood experts, we’ll help you take the guess work out seafood and have the healthiest protein on the planet in regular rotation on your dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) menu.

Why eat seafood?*
Aside from the obvious, that it is delicious, seafood is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It is high in Omega 3’s which are critical for brain function and eyesight. Eating 8 ounces of seafood a week reduces your risk of dying from heart disease by 36% and those who eat the highest amounts of fish live 2.2 years longer. And (most) seafood is safe for pregnant women. Eating 8-12ounces can improve a baby’s IQ, cognitive development, and eye health. The USDA now recommends two servings per person per week.

How do I purchase it?

Whether it’s fresh or frozen, a few simple tips ensure that your fish will be delicious.

  • Fresh Finfish:Make sure the skin is shiny and the flesh is vibrant. If buying a whole fish, the eyes should be clear. There should be no milky liquid on the fish and it shouldn’t have a fishy smell.  

  • Live shellfish (oyster, clams, mussels, scallops):Make sure the shells are tightly closed and they should feel heavy for their size. Again, say no to a fishy odor, but one that is briny like seaweed is good.
  • Frozen seafood:Inspect for no signs of freezer burn, ice crystals, or seafood that is clumping together. The seafood should not be discolored.

  • Shrimp:Shrimp are a bit unique in that finding a truly fresh shrimp is quite rare. Most of the “fresh” shrimp you see at the fish counter have been previously frozen and thawed. Therefore frozen shrimp actually are fresher.
What do all those labels mean? How do I know if I’m purchasing sustainable fish?
There are various organizations and certifications that will help you identify fish that has been sustainably harvested. Here are the labels to look for and what they mean.
  • Marine Steward Ship Council (MSC) Certified: Identifies seafood caught by a responsible fishery in a sustainable way.

  • Monterey Bay Seafood Watch: This program helps consumers and businesses make choices for a healthy ocean by rating seafood as “Best,” “Good Alternative,” or “Avoid.” A “Best” rating means the seafood is well managed and caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife.
  • Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) Certified: The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) coordinates the development of the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification standards for seafood processing plants, farms, hatcheries, and feed mills to ensure responsible and sustainable practices. 

How do I prepare it?
There are numerous ways to prepare seafood (check out our recipes here), but here are some simple preparation methods to get you started as you Fight Fish Fright.

Sautéed Shrimp

  1. Sautee three cloves of minced garlic in 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sprinkle in ¼ tsp red pepper flakes and a little salt if desired
  2. Add shrimp and ½ cup white wine. Turn heat to high to bring wine to a boil for 2-3 minutes
  3. Flip shrimp to the other side and cook another minute or until shrimp are opaque and pink
  4. Remove from heat, squeeze the juice of half a lemon and black pepper to taste. Toss to coat shrimp. Sprinkle with fresh parsley (if desired)
  5. Serve on its own or on top of pasta

Baked Fish

  1. Select a heartier fish fillet like a salmon, halibut, or steelhead
  2. Place skin side down on a greased baking sheet or casserole dish
  3. Top with a pat of butter, sprinkle of fresh or dried dill, and salt and pepper
  4. Bake at 425F until done-internal temperature of 145F-12 to 20 minutes depending on thickness of the fish
  5. Squeeze fresh lemon on top to taste and serve

Mussels in Broth

  1. Scrub their shells and remove mussel beards
  2. Saute ½ a chopped onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, and preferred seasonings with 3 tbls butter in a stock pot
  3.  Add two cups of broth, white wine, or a mix of both, bring to simmer
  4. Add mussels and cook for approx. 7 minutes until shells open. Discard any closed shells
  5. Serve with a toasted baguette

Is seafood safe?
Yes! As with any protein you want to ensure it’s not spoiled, and stored at and cooked to, the correct temperature.

 

References:
*Seafood Nutrition Partnership