Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Broiling Seafood - You Know, That Other Knob on Your Oven

I stole that title line from Emeril, it's in reference to the fact that many people never use the broiler or know how to for that matter.

To me, broiling is just grilling inside your oven, the same basic principles apply, and you get a similar result with your seafood.

It is best to use cuts of fish that are 3/4 to one inch in thickness, as thinner cuts are easy to over cook. Fish steaks work great as they will have an even thickness. Steaks are cross-section cuts of the fish and, therefore, will contain the backbone and some rib bones of the fish. The bone in adds extra flavor to the fish, similar to bone in a roast, and the meat easily separates from the bone after cooking. If you are shy of bones in your fish, a nice thick fillet will work fine.

A marinade is always a good idea for broiling or grilling especially with more delicate fish. I use a simple one of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh lime juice, and a fresh herb like thyme. You could use lemon or orange juice, and most any fragrant herb works. Do not marinade for more than 40 minutes as the citrus will start cooking the fish, I usually go about 15 minutes and it works well.

Place the fish on the broiler rack so that it is 3 to 4 inches below the heat source. Follow the 10 minutes per inch rule turning about halfway through the cooking time. Once you turn the fish, brush, dab or squirt with a little of the marinade to keep moist while it finishes up. I would under cook salmon slightly, and of course Ahi tuna requires only 1 to 2 minutes a side.

This should produce a nice moist flavorful fish. Always have your sides ready to go as seafood will overcook or dry out if you try and keep it warm while you finish up.

The next time you feel like grilling and the weather isn't cooperating, don't forget about the other knob on your oven. Broiling is a great way to prepare your seafood.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Classic Recipe: Trout Meuniere Amandine

Here is one of my favorite sauteing recipes, especially for trout. However it can be used for almost any mild flavored pan fish you want to try it with.

Almonds can be optional if you have a problem with nuts, or you could substitute pecan pieces and other crushed or ground nuts. Experiment and have fun with it.

2 - 6 to 8 oz. fish fillets

1/2 cup seasoned flour (salt and pepper to taste)

1/3 to 1/2 stick of butter, or equal amount of olive oil with a couple of pats of butter added.

2/3 Tbs of minced parsley (about half the amount if you use dried)

1/3 Tbs of fresh lemon juice (or just a nice squeeze)

1/3 Tbs of red wine vinegar or white wine (a splash)

1/3 cup of roasted almonds, you can roast your own if you like but I use the packaged variety, also you might try smoked almonds as well.

Give the fillets a quick rinse and pat dry.

Dip the fillets in seasoned flour. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet and saute fillets about 4 minutes a side.

Remove fish from the pan. Add lemon juice, vinegar or wine, and parsley to pan an heat until butter foams. Add nuts to butter then pour mixture over fish.

This is a true classic and you have just got to try it. If you can't find trout use tilapia, bass, snapper or whatever you can find that fits in your pan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Good News, Bad News as Wild Salmon Season is underway

It is the tale of two fisheries, one fraught with man made and natural calamities, the other, enjoying an abundance well above the norm.

First the bad news, the west coast salmon fishery, from northern California to British Columbia is shut down again for the second year in a row, last year, 2008, being the first time in 160 years for this to happen.

The damming of rivers to supply residential, commercial, and agricultural water demands, combined with severe draught, has made it near impossible for several populations of salmon to migrate to their spawning grounds and has brought many of them near extinction. Every river systems salmon population is distinct from all others, once the breeding population is gone, that river system will never produce salmon again as salmon always instinctively return to the system they were spawned in.

The U.S. government has taken action by restricting water consumption in the areas affected, and requiring steps to be taken to ease the migration path so that the salmon will be less hindered on their path to the spawning grounds. The California governor has balked at these proposals, but when faced with the demise of the major commercial and recreational industries that salmon and other species represent, I would think he should be strongly behind these measures.

Ok, now on with the good news.

The Copper River salmon run is the first of the season Alaskan salmon harvest. There are two species involved in this run the Chinook, or King salmon; and the Sockeye, or Red salmon. The run started about three weeks ago and the harvest from this area, particularly the Sockeye harvest, is considered a bell-weather of what the remainder of the salmon season will be like for the rest of the state.

After looking at the chart of total weekly catch which compares this season against last and the five year average, all I can say is "Wow", this is going to be a great season for fresh wild salmon from Alaska. The numbers are literally almost off the chart, beating last years catch at this time by over 150 thousand pounds if I am reading the chart correctly, you can see it HERE. The contrast with the California fishery could not be more stark.

So there you have it, the good and bad of the salmon season which will run until mid September. Expect plenty of fresh Alaskan salmon, probably at very good prices, due to Alaska's excellent fishery management. Meanwhile the west coast, particularly California, will suffer from loss of jobs and income from putting "growth" ahead of preserving their natural resources.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Putting the Sizzle in Your Seafood

Sauteing, or light frying, is a method of cooking seafood that I find enjoyable, exciting and satisfying. It involves putting the seafood into a pan of hot oil that produces an instantaneous sizzle and gives the seafood a beautiful golden brown color, and a light crisp exterior, to contrast with the white, tender and moist interior.

You will want to start with a good quality oil such as canola, grapeseed, or olive oil, or a good unsalted butter. My personal preference is extra virgin olive oil with a couple of pads of good butter, it gives a great flavor and keeps the butter from burning. Heat the oil to just below the smoking point for best results.

Prepare your seafood by coating it with seasoned flour (just add a little salt and pepper, or your favorite dry seasoning), finely chopped nuts, bread crumbs (panko works great), cornmeal or crushed crackers. I like dipping the fish in an egg wash (slightly beaten egg whites with tsp of water or milk) before coating the fish, it helps keep the coating on and adds the crisp texture.

Add the seafood to the pan being careful not to overcrowd the pieces, leave room for the oil to dance around the fish. Cook until golden brown on the bottom then turn and cook until browned on the other side. Follow the general ten minutes per inch rule, five minutes per side if an inch thick, and you should have a perfect result.

Try this method for your seafood next time and I think you will find it as fun, exciting and satisfying as I do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Omega-3s Linked to Lower Heart-Risking Inflammation

Did you know that Omega-3s Linked to Lower Heart-Risking Inflammation? A new finding adds weight to prior evidence that diets rich in omega-3s may lower levels of a protein associated with inflammation and higher heart risks.

Health authorities worldwide recommend fatty fish and fish oil to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its adverse outcomes. The adverse outcomes that omega-3-rich diets may help prevent include stroke and second heart attacks. Click Here To Read More.

Citrus Pepper Broiled Salmon with Fresh Tomato Salsa

This recipe comes from VitalChoice, the salmon and other ingredients are available from them online.

The light, refreshing combination of citrus with crispy cucumber and red onion is set alight with a touch of jalapeño chili pepper.

This recipe follows the example of many equatorial cuisines, which combine fish or poultry with fruits and spicy seasonings.

It's a tasty way to get the goodness of foods rich in colorful, flavorful, powerfully healthful antioxidant pigments.

This recipe is for two … to serve more, just multiply the ingredients as needed. Adapted from one by “Katie” on her goodthingscatered blog … and it is a tangy treat!

Citrus Pepper Broiled Salmon with Fresh Tomato Salsa
Serves 2

2 tomatoes, chopped into 1/4"-inch cubes
2 Tbsp finely chopped cucumber
2 Tbsp finely chopped red onions
2 tsp finely chopped jalapeño (or serrano or ancho) chilis
2 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
2 (6 oz. each) wild Alaskan salmon fillet portions
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp orange zest, stripped and minced
1/4 tsp lemon, stripped and minced
1/4 tsp parsley, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced (or 3/4 tsp organic gralic granules)
Sea salt and organic coarse ground pepper

Mix tomato, cucumber, red onion, and jalapeño in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat heavy sauté pan over medium high heat and set broiler to low.
Add olive oil to pan and swirl to coat.
Add salmon to hot pan (skin down as appropriate) and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
Season top of salmon with zests, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Flip fish in pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
Remove skin from bottom of steak and discard.
Add white wine to pan and swirl to coat.
Put pan under broiler and cook until heated through and fork tender.
Flip salmon in pan and swirl to pick up browned bits in pan halfway through.
Remove pan from oven, flip and swirl on bottom of pan to pick up juices and transfer to plate.
Top fish with fresh tomato mixture and serve.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is a Perfect Storm Brewing in the Pacific Ocean?

A perfect storm of ecological dangers could be brewing over the Pacific Ocean, one that if left unaddressed will bring disastrous results to the worlds environment and the economies of many nations.

Global warming, man made environmental pollution, and over fishing are a few of the elements of this storm which is approaching faster than many are willing to accept.

But now the scientific community has come together to speak with a single voice to a gathering of government officials at the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia. If they can find a receptive ear, and the public exerts enough pressure, we may be able to avert one of the greatest tragedies to ever face mankind.

Read about the report and keep up with the progress at Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Notes.

These are serious issues that have been ignored by the worlds governments and it's people for far too long. The storm warnings are out, it's up to us to take action.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Basic Techniques for Roasting or Baking Seafood

Roasting and baking are interchangeable terms for cooking with dry surrounding heat. This is one of the easiest, quickest and healthiest ways to prepare seafood you will find. The fish will be moist and flaky with a nice caramelized surface, and since the fish needs no turning it is easier to keep in one piece for serving.

Start by placing the seafood in a glass baking dish, lightly oil with extra virgin olive oil, season and place in a 400 F degree oven for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Remember that, due to residual heat in the baking dish, seafood will continue to cook once removed from the oven. As a result I tend to undercook slightly, remove from the oven and allow the fish to "finish" by letting it rest a few minutes before serving.

To help retain moisture you can use a seasoned breading such as panko. Other options are a thinly sliced lemon, lime, or tomatoes on top or placing fish on top of herbs, vegetables or garlic. You can also combine these options to make a variety of dishes using the same seafood item.

Most fish filets are going to have a thin and thick side whether tapering toward the belly or tail. Simply tuck the thinner part under to get a uniform thickness and even out the cooking. The belly and tail are the tastiest part of a filet, so if you insist on a "center cut" because it cooks more evenly you are missing out on some great flavor.

Almost all seafood varieties do very well when roasted, everything from shrimp to salmon will make you a quick, easy, and delicious meal when cooked by this method, plus retain a high portion of their nutrients, give it a try and you will be hooked on roasting seafood.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Basic Techniques for Grilling Seafood

Grilling seafood is by far one of my favorite activities, seafood and the grill were made for each other.

The various types of seafood will require different tools or methods to grill, but one thing is basic to them all. A clean well-oiled grill, heated to around 350 to 375 F, will get you excellent results every time.

Brush your grill down with a wire brush then wipe clean. Then either apply a good quality grill spray or wipe thoroughly with a cloth, (or paper towels), soaked with either canola or peanut oil, (these oils will take the heat better). Then heat your grill up to the proper temperature and you are ready to grill.

Whole fish and most freshwater fish fillets, which are more tender, work better with a hinged wire grill basket. This will make the whole fish easier to turn and keep tender fillets from breaking up when you flip them.

Firmer fillets, (most of the saltwater varieties), and all steak cuts will direct grill very nicely. I recommend on fillets to keep the skin on, slicing through it slightly a few times to eliminate curling. I place my fillets "meat to the heat" first while the grill is at it's hottest. Leave for about 4 minutes on a one-inch fillet to get a good sear, then turn and finish off on the skin side, about another 5 to 6 minutes. Vary grilling time according to the thickness of the fillet or steak, I use the 10 minutes per inch rule, (total cooking time), and it works great every time.

I have two big exceptions to the 10 minute per inch rule, Ahi Tuna, which needs no more than 2 minutes a side, and Salmon which I like slightly underdone. I usually cook my salmon about 8 minutes per inch, try it, the flavor is just so much better.

To grill small shellfish such as shrimp and scallops you will want to use skewers, either the metal or wood type. I prefer the wood since the metal type can be a little dangerous to handle when hot. Soak the wood skewers in water to prevent them from burning, (a good bourbon or tequila can work as well to add flavor). You can also use the skewers for grilling chunks of firm fish such as Ahi or Mahi. Since the seafood will grill fairly fast, only add items to the skewers that don't require much cooking, some of my favorites are pineapple, mushrooms, tomatoes and the like.

Other shellfish such as oysters, mussels and clams can be prepared on the grill as well. Just place them on the grill until they open, then season as desired. Discard any shellfish that do not open.

The sturdier and fattier fish are your best choices for grilling, Ahi, grouper, halibut, salmon, and Mahi top my list of favorites. By using the right tools and techniques though there is no reason you can't grill any seafood.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fish and Chips Quick and Easy

Since I talked about frying earlier this week thought I would include a quick easy recipe anyone can do. The correct temperature is the key as it keeps the fish from absorbing oil and makes it light and crisp.

Don't have bread crumbs? Use prepackaged panko, that's what I do.

Good fish substitutes would be red fish, black drum, striped bass, or pollock.

You'll find a link at the end for more free recipes, (not just seafood), so check it out.

Ingredients :

1 quart vegetable oil for frying

1 pound red snapper fillets

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs


In a large heavy skillet, heat oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Dip fillets into beaten egg and dredge in bread crumbs.

Gently slide fish into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain briefly on paper towels. Serve hot.

More free recipes

Monday, April 27, 2009

Seafood Fried Right

There is probably nothing better than a plate full of properly fried seafood. The crunchy seasoned crust perfectly compliments the sweet, moist fish inside it. On the other hand, there's nothing much worse than poorly fried fish either.

Fried seafood has garnered an unearned bad reputation simply because it is fried in oil, which to some equates to added fat and being unhealthy. However, when done correctly, fried seafood is not only healthy, but as stated above, a real taste treat.

So, how to fry right? The first step is to use the right oil for the job, and for me that means peanut oil. Not only is it a healthy choice for cooking, it will take the heat, which is the next important step.

Proper frying temperature is essential to having the optimum results from your frying efforts. Recommended temperature for frying is 375 f, this will cook the fish quickly without giving it time to soak up any excess oil. Invest in a frying thermometer, they're cheap, and will make you a great fry cook. Important to remember when cooking in batches, always allow oil to return to the proper temperature before adding new seafood.

Whether using a pan or deep fryer, don't crowd your seafood. Leave enough room so it can float freely and be evenly cooked on all sides. When your fish turns golden brown and floats to the top it is done. Remove from the oil with a slotted tool or tongs and place on a wire rack over paper towels to drain.

If done correctly you will have created one of the most delicious dishes known to man, fried seafood. The crust should be golden brown and crisp, the fish moist and tender. Cooked at the proper temperature and drained properly, the fish will retain a negligible amount of oil, and remember what little is absorbed is a healthy additive, so enjoy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

NBC Reports on Threat of Over Fishing

Watch this video from NBC news on the threat of over fishing and some of the progress being made to combat it.

Put Pollock on Your Plate

Having talked about Pollock and the fact that it is a good substitute for Cod, I thought I should include a recipe featuring it. Pollock is an excellent source of protein and minerals, vitamin A and has 500 mg of Omega-3 per 3.5 oz. serving.

The following recipe and picture come from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Pan-Seared Alaska Pollock with Vegetables

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 2

4 Alaska Pollock fillets (4 to 6 oz. each), fresh, thawed or frozen

3 Tablespoons olive, canola, peanut or grapeseed oil, divided

Favorite seasoning/salt and pepper blend, to taste

1 pound favorite sliced or chopped fresh stir-fry vegetables (bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, celery, etc.)

2 Tablespoons prepared Asian sauce of your choice

Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska Pollock fillets under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of fillets with 1-1/2 tablespoons oil. Place fillets in heated skillet and cook, uncovered, about 3 minutes until browned. Shake pan occasionally to keep fish from sticking.

Turn fillets over and sprinkle with favorite seasoning. Cover pan tightly and reduce heat to medium. Cook an additional 2 minutes. (Reduce cook time by half for fresh or thawed fillets.) Cook just until fish is opaque throughout. Remove fillets from skillet; keep warm.

Stir-fry vegetables in remaining oil, adding the Asian sauce at the end of cooking time.

To serve, divide vegetables among four plates and top with Alaska Pollock fillet.

Nutrients per serving: 236 calories, 12g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 46% calories from fat, 101mg cholesterol, 26g protein, 5g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 489mg sodium, 87mg calcium and 1.5g omega-3 fatty acids.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna Nearly Depleted

According to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), one of the worlds largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, the breeding stock of Mediterranean blue fin tuna is on course to disappear by 2012 if current fishing practices remain unchanged.

This is not environmentalist scare tactics, which I feel we sometimes see too much of and wind up ignoring factual reports, this is based on hard scientific evidence based on tracking population and catch rates in the region over a period of years.

The main concern here is the breed stock of the blue fin, fish that are four years old and over 35kg. In 2007 the population of breeding tuna was one fourth of the levels 50 years ago. The decline has accelerated greatly in the last 10 years.

Before the advent of large scale industrial fishing, blue fin in the area were weighing in as high as 900kg. Now the average catch off the coast of Libya is a mere 65kg.This has had a huge impact on the population of the species, as these giant tunas were prolific breeders, and in their absence the population suffers greatly.

WWF is calling for an immediate closure of the blue fin fishery in the Mediterranean to give the species a chance to recover, but the prospects of that happening are not good. The season has started business as usual.

Most of us have never eaten blue fin, or even seen it in a market for that matter. It is an elitist luxury gourmet item that is easily substituted by the much more abundant Ahi tunas (yellow fin and big eye).

It's a shame that such a wonderful fish will soon be gone just so some unaware socialite can have their exclusive sashimi. Wonder what they'll eat out of existence next?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NOAA Commits $16 Million to Assist the Northeast Fishing Industry

On April 8, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that they will allocate $16 million of it's current fiscal budget to assist the Northeast fishing industry with the transition to managing the fishery by catches and shares.

Of this $6 million will go to cooperative research whereby fishermen and scientists will work together to improve surveys of fish stocks as well as develop and test fishing gear that targets healthy stock.

The balance will be used to develop data reporting and monitoring systems for better documentation of catches and creating a transparent and almost real time management of the fishery.

These efforts will create a healthier ocean and a healthier fishery. Securing a sustainable fishery means secure jobs for the fishermen, and the communities and industries that support and depend on them. Not to mention a sustainable and healthy food supply for our nation and others.

This is government at its best, working with the private sector not only to improve the lives and income of our people, but our environment as well. Actions like this are long overdue.

Monday, April 13, 2009

First Nations Seafood Cookbook

I came across this cookbook while doing some research on the net. Every once in a while you stumble across something and just go "Wow, how cool is that?". To me, this is one of those things.

Published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and 16 Nuu-chah-nulth Nations, Camus(chum-us): West Coast Cooking Nuu-chah-nulth Style, is a 90 page cookbook with color photographs, black and white historical photos, and illustrations that focuses on traditional recipes and seasonal ingredients from the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Northern Washington state.

Here are some features of the book as listed on their order page:

• 65 original First Nations seafood recipes
• 24 full-colour recipe photos; 10 b/w historic photos
• 8 pieces of original artwork by Kelly Poirier
• traditional seafood preparation/preservation methods
• oral history anecdotes from Nuu-chah-nulth members
• conversion tables, measurements, and much more!

This is more than a cookbook, it is a conversation piece, and a piece of history as well.

I have no vested interest in this book, but at $14.95 plus $4 S&H, I think it is a great bargain and a must have for any seafood lover.

Check out the book here, and see if you don't agree.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Come and I Will Make You a Fisher of Men...

There is a book, written many years ago, by Lloyd C. Douglas entitled "The Big Fisherman". It is a novel surrounding the apostle Peter and the story of Jesus, a fictional account based on the information available in the Bible and a few other sources.

My father was so impressed with the story, and it's author, that he named me after the author, thus I became Douglas, or Doug to my friends.

As a result, since my beginning, my life has, in one way or another revolved around fishing, fish, and seafood.

My fondest memories are of fishing with my Dad, or my children, or their kids, or my friends, and the resulting meals afterward.

I just thought that today, being Easter Sunday, would be a good time to explain why seafood, and fishing is such a passion for me, and why I felt the need to write about it.

I am not a religious fanatic of any kind, many who know me might be surprised at the depth of my faith, but when Jesus said, "Come and I will make you a fisher of men.", I feel like I could have been one of those men, with ordinary lives, who were about to change the history of the world, while fishing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This recipe comes from Gloria, one of my online foodie friends who has a great blog with all kinds of original recipes, not just seafood. When I saw this one I just had to ask permission to reprint.

As with most good seafood recipes, this is simple yet elegant, for more great recipes like this visit Gloria at her blog. Enjoy.


A blog about cooking, food, recipes, ideas and tips around the house.


4 halibut or red snapper fillets

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

2 jalapeno peppers finely minced seeds and ribs removed

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper

Cajun seasoning (optional)


Mix all ingredients, except fish, salt and pepper, and Cajun seasoning together in a ziploc bag. Add the fillets and shake mixing well. Marinate in the fridge, turning once or twice for 20 minutes.

Remove fillets, discard marinade. Season fillets with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Sprinkle the fillets with a little cajun seasoning and broil on high for 6 or 7 minutes. Check for doneness. The fillets should be opaque in the center.

Squeeze a little lime juice on the fillets when serving.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When Good Fish Go Bad...

Here are some things you should look for when purchasing fish at the market to ensure you have a pleasant meal when you get home.

First of all the fish should be displayed in a refrigerated glass front case on a bed of fresh ice. The refrigeration is to ensure the ice doesn't melt, if the ice appears to be melting, the fish is not being kept at the proper temperature.

Now, here are the five things to look for when purchasing fresh fish:

1.Probably the one we all know, fish should smell fresh and mild, the leaner fish will have almost no smell at all while the fattier fish will have a slightly sea-breeze aroma. If you detect an ammonia-like odor it is definitely bad.

2. If you are looking at whole fish the eyes should be clear and bulge slightly. Cloudy sunken eyes are a clear sign the fish is past it's prime. Sometimes the eyes may have been damaged in capture or handling, and some fish like walleye pike have naturally cloudy eyes. Therefore you will want to look at the gills, they should be almost ruby red in color, to me bright red gills are the best indicator of a fresh whole fish.

3. Fish whether whole or filleted should have firm shiny flesh. Dull or dry looking flesh, especially if it appears to be separating is a clear sign of aged fish. Please note however if you are looking at previously frozen fish it will have lost some of its luster but will still be fine.

4. As well as being firm the flesh should have a spring too it. When pressed slightly with your finger it should spring back and not leave an impression where touched.

5. Fish fillets should have no darkening or drying around the edges. There should be no discoloration usually green or yellowish and again should not be dry or mushy.

If you look for these five indicators you should be able to ensure yourself that the fish you take home will make an excellent meal.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Is It Kosher?

With Passover fast approaching I thought I should post what is required for a fish to be considered Kosher. The basic rule is a fish must have fins and scales, with the scales easily removable without damaging the skin of the fish.

However I thought I should seek out a more reliable source and found one at this site of, and reprint their description here:


"The Torah establishes two criteria to determine what are kosher fish. The fish must have fins and scales. The scales must be easily removable without damaging the skin. [Generally, scales on kosher fish are either thin, rounded and smooth-edged (cycloid) or narrow segments that are similar to teeth of a comb (ctenoid)]. All shellfish are prohibited. Unlike meat and poultry, fish requires no special preparation. Nonetheless, the fish scales must be visible to the consumer in order to establish the kosher status of the fish. Therefore, filleted or ground fish should not be purchased unless properly supervised, or the fillet has a skin tab with scales attached to the flesh. Furthermore, purchasing fish in a non-kosher fish store is problematic, even if the scales are intact, because the knives and tables are not kosher, and Rabbinic guidance should be sought.

Rabbinic law prohibits consumption of fish and meat together.

Processed and smoked fish products require reliable rabbinic supervision, as do all processed foods."

End Quote

A Fish by Any Other Name...

Picked up on this article online from the Press and Journal out of Scotland.

A local market has decided to change the name of the fish called pollack to the name of Colin. They have done this to help customers who were too embarrassed to ask for the fish by name at the counter. Obviously pollack (known as pollock in the U.S.) has a similar spelling to a derogatory term used towards people from Poland. A pound of Colin anyone?

Pollock is a firm white fish that is an inexpensive alternative to cod. Most U.S. pollock comes from the sustainable fishery of Alaska, it is very abundant and used in many commercial seafood products from surimi (imitation crab), to fish sticks, and most fast food fish sandwiches.

The next time you have a recipe calling for cod, try the more cost and eco friendly alternative of pollock, just don't ask for Colin, he might not be working that day.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Halibut with Wasabi Cream

Here's another halibut recipe I think you will enjoy. I recommend trying to get your fillets from younger halibut (under 30 lb fish), I like the flavor of the fish better and for the health conscious, the contaminant level is considerably less in younger fish.

Halibut with Wasabi Cream

1-1/2 Tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp Sambal Oelek (Asian chile sauce)
1/4 c Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 tsp Wasabi paste
1/2Tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 c sour cream
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 Tbsp water

4-8oz skinless halibut fillets 1-1/2 in. approx

Preheat oven to 400 degree (F)

To make vinaigrette, blend rice vinegar, Sambal Oelek, Dijon Mustard and 1/3 c oil in a blender until smooth.

To make the cream, whisk wasabi, water and sour cream, season with salt.

Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle one side of each fillet with parsley. Heat skillet until hot and add oil, then fish, parsley side up. Sear until underside is brown. Turn fish over and put the skillet in oven and roast until cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Serve parsley side up with a spoonful of each sauce.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mercury in Seafood

One of the biggest concerns I am confronted with by seafood consumers is the mercury content of seafood. There seems to be mass confusion and distortion of facts surrounding this issue.

This all goes back to a report issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which was issued in March of 2004 and can be found here:

This was an article of Advice issued for women who might become pregnant, women who are pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children. In other words, if you don't fit any of these categories, you really have nothing to worry about.

Here is the gist of the report taken directly from the above link.


"By following these 3 recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.


Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.


Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.


Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week.

Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish and shellfish to your young child, but serve smaller portions. "

End of direct quote.

Strangely, I am often asked about which salmon is high in mercury, when the report clearly states it is a low mercury (read recommended) fish. I guess just the fact it was mentioned in the report salmon, shrimp, and catfish are guilty by association.

If you fall under one of the categories listed in this report, basically a woman of child bearing years or nursing mother, a young child, or if you have a medical condition in which you doctor has advised avoidance of methylmercury (the type of mercury found in seafood), then by all means be selective in the type of seafood you consume.

If you are one of us in the teaming masses who don't fit into these categories, eat two or three servings of your favorite seafood a week without fearing for your life. In fact it will add years and quality to your life.

Just make sure you have a variety, not to just break up the monotony, but different items of seafood have different nutrients and will give you a better balanced diet.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More on Alaska Halibut

As I mentioned earlier Alaska Halibut is now available fresh in most markets. Here are some nutritional information and a nice recipe to try out.

Halibut is a naturally lean and light fish, it is high in nutrients such as potassium and magnesium and is low in overall calories, fat and sodium.

Information based on 3.5 oz./100 grams

Calories: 140, Protein (g): 26, Fat (g): 3, Saturated Fat (g): 0, Sodium (mg): 70, Cholesterol (mg): 40, Omega-3 (mg): 500

Now to the good stuff, being a native Texan I picked out this Mexican style recipe which I think really compliments the fish. You can use this to bake (roast), or grill. The oven should be 400 degrees, grill about 375 (med-high), cooking time approx. 10 minutes per inch of thickness, (weight, width, length don't matter, always judge cooking time by the thickness of the fillet), or until just opaque throughout. Serves 2.

Cilantro-Lime Alaska Halibut

1/2 Tsp. Lime zest, grated

3 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp. Garlic, minced

1/4 Tsp. Cumin, ground

1 Tbsp. Olive oil, EV

2 - 6 to 8 oz. Alaska Halibut fillets
Salt and Pepper to taste, recommend sea salt.

1. Combine lime zest, cilantro, garlic, cumin and olive oil.

2. Season halibut to taste with salt and pepper; coat pieces with cilantro-lime mixture.

3. Roast or grill until cooked through.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shrimp or Prawn?

Although there is a biological difference between shrimp and prawns, mostly distinguished by the gill structure, for practical and cooking purposes the terms are used relative to the size. The term prawn is generally used for any shrimp when the count is 15 or less per pound, anything smaller would fall under the shrimp category.

Terms can be confusing sometimes with shrimp, a recipe might call for jumbo, large, or medium and to me these are subjective terms whose meaning can vary depending on location, source and type of shrimp. I would prefer if the count per pound were used more often since it is clearer to the consumer what they are getting.

Common count ranges are, 36-40, 21-25, 10-15, and U-10's (under 10 per pound). All these number ranges refer to the approximate number of shrimp per pound and gives you a good estimate of how many shrimp you will have per serving, I just think this method is more useful and would like to see it used universally.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I could eat nothing but cajun food for a year

AAAYYYEEEE! How Y'all are?

Cajun chicken sausage, spinach and potato soup. Served with sunried tomato naan. by Special*Dark

Gotta have some spice, gotta have seafood, gotta be Cajun. Lot's of variety and it is hearty fare, besides I'm not gong without etouffee for a year.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Farming the Gulf of Mexico

Recently the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted in favor of allowing aquaculture (i.e. fish farming) in the U.S.A. controlled waters of the Gulf. This would be done using large cages or pens, with the possibility of using obsolete oil rigs in the Gulf as operating stations for the farms.

There are a lot of pros and cons to this issue and most of the arguments on both sides have merit, obviously as with most issues there are extreme views on both sides which need to be tossed out by an intelligent observer.

As for myself, I am in favor of this proposal as long as it is sufficiently regulated to protect the ecosystem and not interfere with current commercial and recreational fishing activities.

I also feel that now that we have an administration that is more favorable to the environment, now is the time to enact this proposition into law. The U.S. is far behind on this industry compared to other countries with similar assets. With the use of modern techniques aquaculture is a great source of sustainable, Eco-friendly protein. It is an industry that can create new jobs and opportunities for the U.S. at at time when it is much needed.

Diligence will be needed to ensure we create the best aquaculture program possible for the Gulf of Mexico, but it is a much needed and worthy project.

Here is the FAQ about aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico presented by Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Keeping Seafood Fresh

Seafood is one of the safest food products you can bring home from the market if you follow just one simple rule: keep it cold. Seafood freezes at about 28 degrees Fahrenheit, so you get the longest shelf life by keeping your seafood as close to this temp as possible without actually freezing it.

Obviously this is colder than you would keep you refrigerator, you don't want to freeze your milk, eggs and other foodstuffs, so most refrigerators are set to just below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The bottom of the refrigerator is the coldest spot inside the box, you will usually have a drawer marked "Meat" down there, and this is the best place to store your seafood, as it is usually closer to about 35 degrees.

Kept at this temperature, and assuming your seafood was "fresh" when purchased, you should have two to three days from date of purchase to safely cook and consume your product. Ask your fishmonger to pack your seafood in ice to insure it stays "in temp" while you finish your shopping and for the trip home.

Every degree of temperature rise in the seafood decreases the shelf life of the product, and, if it rises above 40 degrees bacteria can begin to actively grow and start spoilage.

So in conclusion when it comes to seafood, to keep it safe, keep it cold.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Alaskan Halibut

Fresh Alaskan Halibut is now available in the market.

Alaskan Halibut is a savory, mild flavored fish with snow-white meat and a nice firm flesh. Halibut is great on the grill, baked, or pan seared. Fresh Halibut can also be substituted for Sea Scallops, especially the Halibut Cheeks which are the sweetest part of the fish.

Alaskan Halibut is rated a "Best Choice" by Seafood Watch so it is an excellent selection not only for the table but also the ecosystem. Check your local market, Fresh Halibut should appear translucent and slightly glossy, while previously frozen Halibut will be duller in appearance.

Hope you get a chance to enjoy this great product of the Alaskan fishery.

Baking Shrimp

A customer asked me about cooking methods for shrimp and when I mentioned baking she seemed a bit surprised that shrimp could be baked. I am sure a lot of people have never thought of baking shrimp so here is a recipe to try out.

It is simple, easy, and delicious, hope you enjoy it.

Gambero Dell'aglio

1 dozen shrimp, peeled and deveined, use a 21-25 count per pound, or approx. 1/2 pound of any other size.

1 T minced garlic

1 T minced parsley

2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl; make sure the shrimp is coated with the ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees for 3-4 minutes, stir the shrimp and cook another 3 minutes or until the shrimp have turned pink.

Serve on a bed of your favorite rice or pasta. This should make 2 servings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In defense of my vice: fishing, a bad day there is better than a good day at work

A lifelong addiction..

fishing on the bank by m.derepentigny

My father started my addiction when I was a very young boy. He would take me out to a body of water put a fishing rod in my hand and we would spend the day in a peace and serenity that too few allow themselves to enjoy. My vice is terminal, and I am a carrier of the affliction having passed it on to my descendants and others who have fallen under my influence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Red Meat Bad - Seafood Good

In a recent health study by the U.S. National Cancer Institute reported by several sources, try Google or Yahoo to easily access reports, it was found that diets high in red meat (which includes pork), and processed meat (sausages, lunch meat, etc.), will shorten your lifespan not only through cancer and heart disease, but also Alzheimer's, ulcers and a variety of other conditions.

This study in conjunction with other recent findings by prominent health agencies suggests consuming no more than 5 ounces of red meat products per week and substituting "white meat" which is seafood and poultry. Of course an increase in fruits and vegetables is also recommended.

Seafood offers a wealth of health benefits with a minimum amount of concerns. It is almost impossible to eat enough seafood to damage your health and one to three servings a week of varied product will be very beneficial to your well being. There are some exceptions of course such as allergies and mercury content (which is only a concern for young children, women of child bearing years, and certain medical conditions).

If you have any questions ask your fishmonger about the sources of his products. I am always glad to offer the web site of suppliers to my customers so they can go to the source for information.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First things first

Ben Franklin had a famous rabbit stew recipe that began "First catch a rabbit..", likewise, before you can prepare a seafood dinner, you first have to acquire the appropriate ingredients. Some of us will go out and catch our own occasionally, but most of the time we all go to the market to purchase our seafood.

In fact it seems, more and more people are starting to include seafood into their diet, and more and more are deciding to prepare their seafood at home rather than the easy (and more expensive) way out of going to a restaurant. Not only is dinning out more costly, you are less certain that you are actually getting what you are paying for. Reports of news investigations revealing restaurants substituting cheaper fish for more expensive species is not uncommon and stretches from coast to coast.

So, my recommendation, to paraphrase old Ben is, when wanting to prepare seafood "First find a good fishmonger." A good fishmonger is one who has a true passion for seafood, they not only sell it, they cook it, they eat it, they know which wine or beer goes best with what you buy. More importantly, they take pride in their shop, (no odors), and can tell you what substitutions to make when you get sticker shock from the fish you were wanting to purchase.

If you live in an area where there aren't any good fishmongers, I will try and provide the information on this site so that you can become your own fishmonger. I will explain what to look for to ensure you are buying fresh seafood, and will discuss the benefits of certain species versus the risk that may be involved. There is almost always a better alternative, whether you have health or environmental concerns.

I hope this is enough of an introduction that you feel free to post any comments or questions that I can respond too. Until next post, as Julia Child would say, "Bon Appetit".