by donR 04/21/2015
People living in the Pacific Northwest are blessed to have a constant source of fresh seafood. Two questions seem to always surface in our classes when the word “seafood” is mentioned; is it safe to eat and how do you cook it?
The answer, simply put, is “It depends”. If you and your family are seafood lovers this post will be important to you as I answer those questions.
Is seafood safe to eat? From commercial fisherman to processor to grocer, seafood is kept cold, canned or flash frozen. It is easy to spot spoiled seafood during each step in the process because it begins to smell, soften or get slimy. Processors have inspectors and local markets need to meet local health standards. As a final safeguard, if it smells bad…throw it out. So from a bacterial standpoint seafood is relativity safe to eat if the buyer keeps it frozen or uses it right away.
Nutritionists suggest that you avoid any seafood other than deep water whitefish or wild ocean salmon. These two types of seafood are thought to be safer because they spend their lives away from densely populated areas of the world and thrive on larger fish. Shallow water scavengers and filter feeders like crabs, shrimp, catfish and clams have more of a chance to harbor heavy metals and toxins in their flesh. Eating Well Magazine has reported on “6 seafood to eat, 6 to avoid.” The Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife monitors potential polluted food sources, tests for toxins and has a hotline. So… when you buy or catch seafood, know the source.
note: The author has commercial fished, worked in a processing plant and learned how to prepare everything from crayfish and smelt to king salmon and halibut since day one. His culinary training came from relatives and neighbors including: Nels from Sweden, Wally from Iceland, Native Americans and local fishers. Whether planked, broiled, grilled, poached, pickled, smoked, baked or fried it all is delicious as long as it’s not overcooked… donR
Here is my favorite recipe for cooking seafood.
- 1/2 diced sweet onion
- 2 cl minced garlic
- 2 T olive oil
- 3/4 C white wine
- 1/2 C water
- 4 oz cut fillets of firm fish per person
- 1 t pepper to taste
- 1 T orange zest (optional)
- 1 T Spike seasoning (optional)
- 1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Do not let it smoke.
- 2. Saute onions and garlic in oil until translucent.
- 3. Add wine and water to the sauteed onions and bring to a slow boil
- 4. Add fish topped with pepper and spices if used
- 5. Bring back to a slow boil
- 6. Cover skillet and poach for 3 to 8 minutes depending on thickness
- 7. TEST: Fish is done when it easily pulls apart with a fork, overdone if it falls apart.
- 8. Serve immediately
- 1. Shrimp, oysters and scallops can be cooked using the same method but shrimp and scallops fare better when stir fried, Crab is boiled and oysters broiled with butter, wine (or lemon) and spices.
- 2. Thick fillets may need to be turned over once and may take longer to cook thoroughly.