Happy Earth Day! I've got an Earth Day inspired challenge for you. We recently returned from Monterey California where we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As a result, the Ocean is on my mind.
We often hear that we should include more fish in our diet. Sounds like an easy challenge, right? Well, here's the catch! The health of our oceans are declining and it is critical to note that the health of the ocean is intricately connected to our own health. Just one example: phytoplankton, kelp and algal plankton are responsible for approximately 70% of the earth's oxygen. Pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals we use, eventually make their way to the ocean, which affects the health of the phytoplankton, kelp and algal plankton, which in turn affects the health of our whole biosphere, including our own body!
Many fish are "overfished," or endangered. In addition, much of the fish available to purchase comes from fish farms, which frankly are not the healthiest option for us, or the environment.
My recommendation is to eat fish as part of your meal instead of the central feature. For instance, instead of a big piece of salmon, eat smaller pieces of it on top of a green, or grain salad. You could also make a seafood stew, soup or chowder. We like to make a fish taco bowl using a grain as the base instead of a tortilla. Other ideas include, fish cakes, burritos or wraps, ceviche, kedgeree, roasted vegetables topped with pieces of fish instead of the whole filet, a fish salad, or poke bowl. My Father-In-Law makes a delicious tuna, green salad and one of our favorites salads is a nicoise salad. Fish tacos, fish quiche, a hash, pate, spring rolls, fish "nachos" using sliced roasted potatoes as base in place of chips are some other ideas. This is not only a healthier way to enjoy fish, but a much more economical as well. You can get several meals out of what you would normally be eating for one meal.
Here are a couple links to get you thinking about different ways to eat fish rather than a whole fillet.
Don't forget, if you have the head and bones and/or shells from shellfish, you can make a seafood stock. If you don't know how to do that, here are a couple links to give you a basic method.
I generally just cover what I have with water, add a splash of apple cider vinegar, and add an onion, garlic and seasoning. Bring the water almost to boiling and then turn it down and simmer for about an hour. If you have a fish head, you will be rewarded with a gelatinous broth. Bones and shells will not yield a gelatinous broth, but it will still be nutritious and flavorful. Waste not want not! If you only have a small amount of bones, or shells, freeze them until you have enough saved up to make a batch of stock.
To sum things up, while it is a great idea to include fish in your diet, please eat it in a responsible and sustainable way. Here is a link for handy little guide to help you make good seafood choices.
The http://www.seafoodwatch.org/ website is a wonderful resource where you'll find recipes and a free app you can download to help you make good choices when you are purchasing seafood to cook, or at a restaurant.
Here's a recipe to get you started: Stephenie's Salmon