Versatile seafood makes healthy eating easy
Seafood is a great source of protein that is high in heart-healthy essential Omega-3 fatty acids. It's naturally low in fat, calories and carbs. Plus, recent studies suggest that eating fish at least twice a week is good for the brain, lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease and stroke. And, if that weren't enough, seafood is versatile, easy to prepare and amenable to many preparations.
Given those advantages, why are some people timid about cooking seafood at home? Perhaps they fear not getting the freshest fish, overcooking it, undercooking it, or simply not knowing where to begin. Red Lobster chefs, who prepare more than 141 million meals a year, offer some seafood tips to boost the confidence of at-home chefs.
Tips for Buying Fresh Fish
Freshness is the key to preparing delicious seafood. When buying fresh fish, make sure the eyes are clear, not cloudy. Also, the fish's interior gills should be bright red. There should be no offensive odor (fresh fish should smell moist and fresh, like a cut cucumber or melon), and its flesh should be firm. Fresh fillets or steak cuts should look moist and firm, and have no bruises (dark red spots).
Fish is naturally tender. Unlike meat, it requires short cooking times at a high temperature. Measuring the fish (dressed or stuffed, fillets or steaks) at the thickest part, allow 10 minutes per inch for fresh fish and 20 minutes per inch for frozen fish. Fish is ready when it's opaque and flakes easily. Be careful not to overcook it.
Methods for Cooking Fresh Fish and Seafood
Fresh fish can be cooked in a variety of ways. Firm, fleshy fish such as mahi mahi and tuna are great sautéed in a skillet, poached, broiled or grilled. Oily fish, such as salmon, are better on the grill. Delicate flesh fish, such as grouper, trout and tilapia are great poached, sautéed or fried.
Incorporating Seafood Into Your Diet
Substitute fish or shellfish for meat and poultry in your favorite casseroles, stir-fries, salads, soups and pasta recipes. Beef-lovers often enjoy “meatier” types of fish such as fresh salmon, tuna or halibut. Be adventurous with seafood cooking methods — instead of traditional baking and broiling, try poaching seafood in a wine and herb-seasoned broth, grilling with barbecue sauce, and stir-frying or steaming with a variety of vegetables.
With seafood, the possibilities are endless for healthful eating and adding variety and great taste to everyday meals. Helping ourselves to fish is helping ourselves to good health!
# # #