Swimming Upstream with the Salmon

This week’s post is delivered to you straight from New Zealand where I am catching up with friends and gathering inspiration for  fresh and easy meals. When it comes to food, globalization has not yet taken over NZ; the markets are packed with products from small family-owned businesses that shy away from industrialized food manufacturing. If the fresh, delicious food abundantly available NZ is any proof, smaller is better.

One particular food product that benefits from local sourcing is fish.  In NZ fish plays a big part in the mainstream diet, as it is abundantly available from the local businesses I mentioned above.  And while it isn’t always easy to get fresh fish in the United States, good product can still be found at the local farmer’s market or a fish-monger in your area. In the long run, sourcing, purchasing and eating more quality fresh fish does pay off.

There are many different types of fish out there, some better for you than others (due to mercury levels in our waters), and many fished in ways that are unsustainable. In order to navigate these muddy waters, keep a seafood recommendation pocket-guide handy and use it to guide your purchase choices. Here’s the guide we recommend.

I’ve noticed, as I’ve talked with people about their cooking habits, that many of us feel overwhelmed by fish. Whether it’s the taste, the preparation requirements, the environmental issues, or familiarity, the idea of cooking fish at home is enough to turn any cook away from a fish dinner. You don’t have to go straight to the whole fish; instead, start with something mild, accessible, and easy to cook like filet of sole, flounder, or wild salmon. Whether you eat it smoked, poached or fried, fish is a great source of omega-3s, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. With all that goodness, fish is something you simply need to eat!

Finally, if you remain overwhelmed at the prospect of cooking fish, you can always make canned fresh fish part of your diet, using it to round out a delicious mixed vegetable salad at lunch. Fresh, wild-caught fish canned on the ship and sent to your store is often a good and sustainable alternative.  For an online source canned fish, we like the Vital Choice Seafood products, which can be found here.

I hope I’ve inspired you, or at least given you reason to try your hand at cooking fish.  For some more ideas, and great recipes, click the links below.  And try to make fish a weekly habit – while you still can.

Sicilian Style Braised Tuna
Lemon Sole, the Easy Way
Steamed Wild Salmon with Fresh Herbs

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