Pretty much everyone has heard the "seafood diet" joke ("I see it and I eat it!")—but to reduce caloric intake, lose weight, and have a heart-healthy diet, seafood is no joke. Ounce for ounce, compared to animal protein equivalents, seafood is the reigning champion of lean protein. See the links below for healthy seafood recipe ideas. And for the sake of the Massachusetts economy, food freshness, and a reduced carbon footprint (PDF, 9 MB) (see page 59), be sure to shop local whenever possible.
WHERE TO GO - The shorter the distance from the sea to you, the fresher the goods, and less travel distance means less petroleum used in transport. So, for the closest sea-to-table connection possible without actually hooking the fish yourself, try a community supported fishery (CSF) or other seafood operation that sells the catch locally and regionally and direct to the consumers. With CSFs, customers pre-pay for a season of fresh, local seafood and receive weekly or bi-weekly shares of bivalves (and other shellfish and fish). Check out Local Catch Network’s Seafood Finder to get connected.
Lobster - Who doesn't love lobstah? And what goes best with lobster? Butter you say? You may be right…but lemon is a close second, and a healthier option. Try Epicurious' Lobster Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing and you won't even miss the buttah.
Scallops - Got scallops? Impress company and your taste buds with Emeril's Atlantic Fish Scallop Salad.
Shrimp - For an easy, breezy, summertime treat, take your shoes off and make Shrimp Salad using this Barefoot Contessa's flavorful five-star, fan favorite recipe.
Fish - Spice your low-fat diet up with the Commonwealth's sacred cod, Tex-Mex style! Allrecipes.com contributor Chefete brings the heat in his Spicy Fish Soup recipe.
Gumbo - Northerners are now allowed to discover why people in the south have less road rage. Courtesy of New Orleans's chef Richard Benz, this recipe can be made with any white fish (haddock, cod, flake, flounder) and is the real deal Seafood Gumbo - New Orlean's Style. Also try cooks.com's Low Fat Fish Gumbo—it's low-cal, and you can make it using the fresh fish fillet of your choice.
Lobster - Mmmm….Lobster! Once used as fertilizer by the colonists, we now know better. This succulent crustacean is rich in taste, but on its own contains 22 calories/ounce. So, fertilize your taste buds all you want! The healthiest way to eat them is boiled or steamed. And if you can boil water, The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative will walk you through the steps of boiling lobster in their short video.
Mackerel - A relatively inexpensive option, there are many ways to skin and cook this dark, dense fish full of healthy Omega 3 oils. Great British Chefs is here to school you (get it? school?) with their How to Cook Mackerel page.
Shrimp - For a variety of fast-cooking, easy-to-make, low-calorie recipes, peruse EatingWell's Superfast Shrimp.
Tuna - Not just for a quick, out-of-the-can salad, tuna steaks can be marinated in 10 minutes and grilled in another 10-15. If you've got a grill and 25 minutes, try allrecipes.com's Marinated Tuna Steak.
Whitefish - So many low-fat whitefish, and so many ways to love them! Local whitefish include cod, haddock, flounder, halibut, fluke, and pollock. To find a low-calorie recipe to suit you (and your bathing suit), sift through food.com's Whitefish Low Calorie Recipes.
WHAT TO KNOW - When selecting seafood, you want fish that doesn't smell fishy. It should appear shiny and, if there are gills in the cut you are considering, they should be a rosy pink color. For more on what to look for and a run down on cuts of fish, check out recipetips.com's Fish Shopping Guide.
And the List Goes on…
These recipes are just a drop in the bucket. For a boat load of additional healthy seafood recipes, check out:
Seafood Caught off the Coast of Massachusetts - Atlantic Cod, Atlantic Northern Shrimp, Black Sea Bass, Blue Shark, Bluefin Tuna, Bluefish, Cusk, Fluke, Haddock, Halibut, Lobster, Mackerel, Mako Shark, Pollock, Scallops, Striped Bass, Winter Flounder
Featured Local Recipe
Day Boat Atlantic Cod in Banana Leaves
For a very special treat, Andy Husbands, Chef and owner of the former Tremont 647 Boston, has shared a dish the restaurant has served seasonally since it opened in 1996. Made from fresh cod right off the boat, this recipe also appears in The Fearless Chef by Andy Husbands & Joe Yonan. When he's not cooking with local ingredients in Boston, Andy is honing his BBQ skills (in 2010, his team QueBBQ was the first New England team ever to win the coveted Jack Daniel's BBQ Championship in Lynchburg, Tennessee). He also has the distinction of being chosen for the internationally acclaimed reality show Hell's Kitchen in 2009.
Serves 4 as an entrée
1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
1 green bell pepper, seeded and julienned
½ pound snow peas, threads removed
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 package frozen banana leaves, thawed overnight in the refrigerator or microwaved for 20 seconds
2 cups Coconut Jasmine Rice (recipe below)
¾ cup Soy-Curry Glaze (recipe below), cooled
4 (6-ounce) Atlantic cod fillets
4 (3-foot) pieces twine (for tying)
1 lime, cut into quarters
½ cup bonito flakes (a common ingredient in many Japanese dishes and found in Asian markets, optional)
- Combine the bell peppers, snow peas, and carrot in a small bowl. Toss well, and divide the mixture into 4 portions. Set aside.
- Remove the banana leaves from the package and carefully unfold the leaves. Cut 8 pieces, each about 18 inches long. Stack 2 pieces perpendicular to each other on the work surface, to form a cross.
- Spread ½ cup cooled rice in the center of the cross. Top with a portion of mixed vegetables and 2 tablespoons Soy-Curry Glaze. Arrange 1 cod fillet on top, and spread 1 tablespoon Soy-Curry Glaze on the fish. Carefully fold the leaves over the filling to enclose completely and form a snug package. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to form 3 more packages.
- Tie a piece of twine around each package, twisting underneath and bringing around and tying tightly in the center (as you would a ribbon around a present). Snip off any excess twine.
- To steam the fish, add water to a large sauté pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Place the packages in the water, knot-side down, and cover the pan. Cook for 6 minutes, checking halfway through to be sure the water is still at least ½ inch deep. (Add more water as needed.) Turn the packages, cover the pan, and cook until an instant-read thermometer poked into the fish reads 150°F, about 4 to 6 minutes more.
- Place each package knot-side up in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate. Snip the string and cut a slit down the center of each package and pull the leaves apart to expose the fish. Squeeze lime wedge on top of each, and sprinkle bonito flakes over the top. Serve immediately.
Coconut Jasmine Rice
Serves 4 as a side dish
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger (about a 2-inch piece)
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk, mixed well
1 ¼ cups cold water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups uncooked jasmine rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat the canola and sesame oils in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the ginger becomes fragrant and golden. Add the coconut milk and water, and bring to a boil.
- Add the rice and salt, and stir well; reduce heat to low, and cover. After 5 minutes, stir again, replace cover, and continue to cook for 13 to 15 minutes or until the rice is tender but not mushy. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Makes about 1 cup
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peeled and minced garlic
¼ cup hoisin
¼ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sherry
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon chili-garlic paste
Juice and zest of 1 large orange
¼ cup fermented black beans, rinsed with hot water and chopped
Directions: In a small (1-quart) saucepan, combine the oil and garlic. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is light brown and fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. The glaze will keep for up to 2 weeks refrigerated in an airtight container.