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.