Archive for the ‘fish’ Category

Kids Cook: Baked Snapper in Parchment

Monday, May 21st, 2012

We had a fabulously delicious weekend, including our Food Revolution picnic at the Washington Monument — before participating in Yoga on the Mall.

Taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather, we had another picnic with friends on Sunday, for which I made my favorite summer salad — my asparagus version of Heidi Swanson’s “Mostly Not Potato Salad.” Sunday morning I had the rare shopping trip with only my five-year-old in tow. Having recently caught (and released) his first fish with his grandpop, he was especially interested in the fish on display at the grocery. After chatting with the fishmonger for a bit, he asked if we could bring home a yellow tail snapper for dinner. We nearly always eat salmon at home, so I was happy to branch out. He then noticed the June issue of Bon Appetit nearby, with a picture of fish on the cover, and added that to our cart — “So I can learn how to cook our fish.”

We flipped through the magazine later in the day and came across halibut and cherry tomatoes baked “en papillote” — or, in paper. He was intrigued so we decided to try the technique on our snapper. We used thin lemon slices, olive oil and a pinch of salt to flavor our fish. Neatly wrapped packages go into the oven for just 10 minutes, and are then placed on a serving plate to be unwrapped at the table. Fun, so easy, and a successful technique to get the kids to try something new. Even if he ate one bite and declared, “I’ve had enough fishiness for one day.” It’s a start, right?

Recipe: Baked Snapper in Parchment Paper
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 6-ounce snapper filets
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear off four 12-inch lengths of parchment paper. Fold each in half, then trim corners into a (half) heart shape. Open and lay flat on baking sheet.

2. Drizzle one-half tablespoon olive oil on one side of each parchment sheet. Lay 2-3 lemon slices on each and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place fish fillet on top and sprinkle with another pinch of salt.

3. Fold the empty half over the fish. Beginning at the top, fold and crimp edges a little bit at a time, continuing all the way around to make a tight seal. Bake for 10 minutes.

4. Remove packets to a serving platter. Carefully cut a slit in the top of each to allow steam to escape, then unwrap to serve.

baked snapper in parchment

Wild Salmon Salad (mayo-free)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Fish, and its magical omega-3 fatty acids, is really important for pregnant women and young kids alike.  But it’s important to eat the right fish, and canned wild salmon is both an affordable and sustainable alternative to some other types (looking at you, tuna). According to KidSafe Seafood, canned wild salmon contains four times the amount of omega-3s as tuna, as well as a generous dose of calcium and protein.

I made this simple salmon salad to top homemade bagels (stay tuned!). I can’t stand the taste of mayonnaise, so instead this gets its creaminess from sour cream and a little kick from horseradish and mustard. It’d be great atop salad greens, in tea sandwiches (for spring baby showers, perhaps), or rolled up in crispy romaine leaves.

Recipe: Mayo-Free Wild Salmon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 7.5-ounce can wild Alaskan salmon
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Drain salmon of excess oil (makes an excellent treat for any cats in the home). Empty can into a medium bowl and use a fork to break apart large chunks. Add remaining ingredients, tossing with the fork to combine. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to a day before serving. Makes enough to top 6 bagels. Enjoy!

Sustainable Fish Soundbites

Friday, June 12th, 2009

New here? Please pull up a chair (okay, odds are you’re already sitting) and let me point you towards some kid-friendly recipes, farm visits or local farmers market reports. If you like what you see, you may be interested in subscribing to the feed or signing up for free e-mail updates. And please leave a note to say hello!

There’s been a lot of press lately about top sushi Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s refusal to stop serving critically-endangered bluefin tuna in his celebrity-frequented, highly-lauded Nobu restaurants. Greenpeace and those barton seaver food and wine national harborsame celebrities have recently launched a boycott in hopes of forcing a menu change.

Meanwhile, here in the District, sustainable seafood ambassador Barton Seaver has just opened Blue Ridge, where he describes his mission as, “making broccoli sexy so you’ll have less room for the shrimp on your plate.” He’s not out to tell you what not to eat, he says, just as long as you’re not eating more than 4-5 ounces of a sustainably-harvested seafood species at a time.

At last weekend’s Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor, where Seaver gave a cooking demo, I was amused to see the Alaska seafood industry handing out sustainable seafood guides that just happened to be the same size and format as the Seafood Watch guides by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The difference? The industry-produced brochures assert that environmental contaminants like PCBs that are highly-publicized are not actually a problem in the US. (Really? Then what’s with this new warning about dangerous PCB levels in Atlantic rockfish, eh?) Alaskan seafood is generally one of the more sustainable options, as event speaker Dan Shapley of The Daily Green poinwild natural sustainable fishted out, so it’s unclear why they felt the need to spread misinformation.

Word Oceans Day was earlier this week, but you can still take a moment to sign a message to your legislators asking them to ban mercury-producing chlorine manufacturing processes; yes, the same mercury that gets into our soil, water, and fish…

Making smart seafood choices is complicated enough without having to try to discern which guides are scientific and which are just clever marketing. Here’s a look back at a “Sustainable Seafood 101″ post I wrote earlier this year, part of the FoodieTot’s Sustainable Family Supper series. (And my contribution to this week’s Fight Back Friday, hosted by Food Renegade.)

Shellfish on Friday

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Now that Lent is here, I have even more incentive to try new seafood recipes to incorporate more sustainable seafood into our diet. This was actually our Shrove Tuesday pancake meal, but we will definitely be making it again. Shellfish is loaded with nutrients (scallops with vitamin B12) and while my son isn’t yet slurping raw oysters, he has no problem eating shrimp or fried clam strips. This was the first time I tried giving him scallops, and he was skeptical but ate several bites. Scallops overcook very quickly, so don’t make the mistake I did of cooking the seafood first — cook the crepes and keep them warm in the oven while you prepare the etouffee and scallops.

Recipe: Shrimp & Scallop Crepes Etouffee

Ingredients:

Crepes

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 3/4 c buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 unbleached flour
  • 1/4 t salt

Etouffee

  • 1/2 pound jumbo wild-caught US shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch (or corn starch)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 large diver-caught scallops, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper
  • Tabasco (optional)

Instructions:

Crepes: Whisk together crepe ingredients until combined. Cook on a large cast iron skillet or crepe pan, and transfer to cookie sheet in warm over to keep warm.

Etouffee: Melt butter in skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and red pepper and cook until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes, until shrimp begins to turn pink. Dissolve tapioca starch and water and add to pan. Stir, then cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Scallops: Warm olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to pan and cook 2 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. Flip scallops and add butter to pan. Cook 2-3 minutes more, until just cooked through. (Scallops should be opaque and just firm to the touch.)

Fill crepes with a spoonful of shrimp etouffee, fold and serve with scallops on the side. Add a few dashes of Tabasco if you like a little heat. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

For more scallop inspiration, check out this yummy Lemon-Thyme Scallop recipe from one of my favorite new foodie kids’ blogs, Chow Mama.

Note: Shellfish is not recommended for children before one year of age, and possibly longer if there is a family history of allergies. Our pediatrician advised us to wait until 18 months, but check with your own doctor if you have not yet introduced shellfish.

Sustainable Seafood 101

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

If your new year’s resolutions included healthier eating, you’re probably looking to include more fish in your diet. It’s one of my goals, anyway, but a trip to the fish counter is often headache inducing as I try to remember which fish is “safe.” Sustainable seafood guides look at several factors, and unfortunately it’s not as simple as “farmed fish = bad, wild-caught = good.” Wild-caught salmon is good, yes, but some farmed fish also get the green light from the Blue Ocean Institute and other guides. We often hear about the health benefits of fish, particularly the omega-3 fatty acids that are important for brain development and heart health, so it’s important to make smart choices to make sure the health benefits are not out-weighed by the risks.

Health and sustainability issues surrounding seafood tend to fall into two general areas:

  1. over-fishing, ocean health and species survival
  2. health risks from mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

1. Ocean Health: Our oceans are over-fished and too many countries do not adequately regulate fishing practices. Fishing techniques for certain species also endanger other species. We all remember the dolphin-safe tuna campaign of the 80s, and while “dolphin-safe” labels now appear on tuna cans, other dangerous fishing practices are still in use. Blue fin tuna and Chilean sea bass top the list of endangered species to avoid. For more on the problems of over-fishing, see the Environmental Defense Fund on “Fishing Responsibly.”

2. Human Heath Risks: Pollutants in water are ingested and stored in fish. Certain fish retain a higher concentration of mercury and PCBs, chemicals from fertilizers and industrial waste which pose brain development risks, particularly to developing babies and young children, and are linked to cancer. These toxins build up and are stored in fat cells, so choosing less fatty fish and using cooking techniques that reduce the fat (avoid frying, drain fat during cooking) will help reduce your exposure. For more on issues surrounding farmed food, particularly the fish meal feeding that concentrates toxins in certain species, read this informative post on the Green Fork Guide.

Sustainable Fish Resources: The guides produced by the Blue Ocean Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafod Watch rate fish by their sustainability index, and they offer on-the-go tools that are a lifesaver when your mind goes blank in front of the seafood display at the store. You can download an iPhone application from Seafood Watch or simply text 30644 with the message FISH and the name of the fish in question for an instant response from the Institute’s “Fish Phone.” “Organic” seafood is going through its own challenges, but you can look for fish with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. Using the Environmental Defense Fund‘s lists of most and least-contaminated fish, narrowed to highlight the more commonly found, here are the “top 5″ best and worst to remember:

Top 5 Fish To Look For: Wild Alaskan Salmon, Yellow-Tail Snapper, Tuna – Albacore or canned light, Black Sea Bass, Tilapia – US farmed.

Top 5 Fish To Avoid: Blue fin Tuna, Striped Bass – wild, Salmon – farmed/Atlantic, MackerelSwordfish

We tend to eat a lot of Alaskan salmon, as it happens to be my favorite as well as one of the safest. My husband is a reluctant seafood eater, so finding types he will willingly eat is another challenge. Tilapia was a recent success, though, and this week’s Sustainable Family Supper (below) features this nutrient-rich, easy-to-find and affordable fish.