Sunday, March 22, 2015

SENA15: How To Cook Seafood

"In the hands of an able cook, fish can become an inexhaustible source of perpetual delight."
---Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

It is unfortunate that American seafood consumption has decreased over recent years, and is now down to only 14.4 pounds per years, despite the fact that the USDA and many other bodies recommend that Americans should consume at least 26 pounds of seafood each year. In general, you should eat seafood twice a week, to gain the beneficial health benefits. We need to find ways to persuade people, overcoming their objections, to eat seafood more frequently.

When consumers are asked about why they don't eat more seafood, cost is always at the top of the list. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy seafood in an economical manner, as mentioned in my recent post, Seafood Nutrition Partnership & Eating Heart Healthy.  I've also previously discussed one of the least expensive, but tasty, versatile and healthy, seafoods: Mussels. Besides cost, many consumers also have indicated their fear and unease at cooking seafood at home. They don't understand the best, or easiest, ways to prepare seafood and fear ruining an expensive piece of fish. That objection is also easy to counter, by educating the consumers, showing them that preparing seafood is just as easy as any other protein.

Do you have difficulty preparing seafood at home?
Do you know how to cook fish and shellfish?
Are there other reasons why you don't cook more seafood at home?

Fish can be prepared in a myriad of methods, from raw to baked, fried to grilled. It can be added to soups, stews, risottos, casseroles, stir fry or sauces. Many recipes intended for other proteins can easily be adapted to use seafood instead. Seafood can be prepared very simply and still possess plenty of taste. Buy a seafood cookbook or get recipes online and experiment if you want to make more intricate dishes. Seek out help from other cooks about the best ways to prepare seafood. It isn't as hard to prepare as you think. And once you create some tasty seafood dishes at home, you'll wonder why you ever worried about preparing it in the first place.

After last year's Seafod Expo North America (SENA), I started a new series on my blog called How To Cook Seafood, and there are currently three volumes in that series: Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3. The idea was to ask Chefs their best and simplest advice to home cooks on preparing seafood. At this year's SENA, I continued gathering together cooking advice for consumers, to help overcome their fears. At SENA, numerous exhibitors provide recipes for their products or have recipes listed on their websites. Consumers can use this post as a resource and hopefully learn that cooking seafood can be as easy as cooking chicken.

Let me start off with a short video. Chef Johnny Carino, with over 30 years of experience in the kitchen, is currently a Corporate Executive Chef for King and Prince Seafood, so he is deeply involved in preparing all types of seafood. I met him at SENA and was impressed with his energy and passion. He provided me a short video with his advice and suggestions to home cooks as to how to prepare seafood. Take a look, listen to what he has to say and heed his advice.


At SENA, Chef Carino cooked several different dishes, including a Lobster Colada Roll. Unfortunately, I didn't get to taste it as I couldn't make it to his booth when it was sampled due to my schedule. However, it sounds quite tasty, and doesn't appear to be that difficult to make. It's a creative recipe but shows making seafood doesn't have to be overly complicated.

Jacqueline Church, a local food writer, assisted Chef Nathan Fong at the British Colombia booth at SENA. Each year, this booth prepares some of the best seafood dishes at the Expo. Besides writing, Jacqueline also operates Kitchen Confidence, providing private cooking classes on a wide variety of topics. from Dumplings to Meat-Free Meals.

If you want to learn how to prepare seafood, you could take her class: "Forget Fishsticks! Enjoying sustainable seafood at home. What to shop for, how to prepare it. Sustainable seafood 101 and great recipes and tips. Cooking fish en papillote, Shrimp-fried rice, Whole fish en croute (baked in salt crust); even an easy microwave poached fish with ginger-scallion sauce." Jacqueline will help show you how easy it can be to prepare seafood at home, giving you more confidence in the kitchen.

Alaska has some of the best, sustainable fisheries in the world and their large booth at SENA always offers a wealth of information about their seafood, including a multitude of cookbooks and recipes. The Alaska Seafood site provides a searchable database of seafood recipes, for both consumers and food service. The list includes entries for Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Sandwiches, Entrees,Fish Tacos, Breakfast and Brunch. You can also search by a specific type of seafood or a cooking method. It's an extensive and valuable site for home cooks. Anyone up for a Bacon-Wrapped Alsaka Scallop Slider?

I often recommend that people eat more domestic seafood as we import far too much seafood, ignoring all the excellent seafood found in American waters. The Gulf Coast is the source of plenty of delicious seafood, from shrimp to red snapper. The Eat Gulf Seafood site has a multitude of information for preparing seafood at home. They too have a searchable database of recipes, which can be filtered by the type of seafood. Want some Gulf Oyster Pasta with Creole Tomato Sauce or Fried Green Tomatoes with Gulf Crawfish?

As an added benefit, their site provides a Wine & Beer Pairing Guide for a number of fin fish. I would like to see similar pairings provided for shellfish too. In addition, I would have loved to see them pair their seafood with Sake, an excellent choice for all types of seafood.

Some of the individual Gulf states also have their own sites containing different seafood recipes. Check out this searchable list of nearly 200 Florida Seafood Recipes, for seafood from Grouper to Shrimp, Tuna to Oysters. Enjoy some Rock Shrimp & Blue Crab Bisque or Pecan Crusted Swordfish.

The recipes from Louisiana Seafood are separated by the type of seafood, including oysters, shrimp, crab, crawfish, fish, and even alligator. Try some Cream of Redfish Soup, Po Man;s Gumbo, or Louisiana Creole BBQ Shrimp.

Mississippi Gulf Seafood provides plenty of searchable recipes, as well as Recipe Books (in PDF format). There are three recipe books, for Oysters, Shrimp and Seafood. They also have a series of Recipe Videos you can watch. Enjoy such dishes as Mississippi Gulf Coast LasagnaMississippi Gulf Oyster Alfredo or Mississippi Gulf Crabmeat Dip.

At North Carolina Seafood, you'll find a seafood cookbook with dozens of recipes for a variety of fish. Maybe you would like some Garlic Flounder, Shrimp Casserole, or Southern Clam Chowder. Unfortunately, the site lacks photos of the various dishes so you don't know what some of the dishes look like.

The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative site offers an astounding 456 ways to prepare and enjoy lobster! It is a searchable data base and you'll find a huge range of recipes, for everything from breakfast to bisque. Try a Maine Lobster Benedict, Classic Maine Lobster Stew, or a Creamy Maine Lobster Risotto. The only thing this recipe list seems to be missing is Dessert recipes. I've had Lobster Gelato before and it was delicious, so I know lobster can work in certain desserts.

Though Lobster dominates Maine, I've already wrote about their compelling Maine Dayboat Scallops and you can find a few scallop recipes on their site.including Scalloped Scallops, Honey Buttered Scallop Casserole, and Wasabi Coated Scallops.

The Seafood Oregon site provides numerous recipes, broken down by the type of seafood including Salmon, Albacore, Bottomfish, Crab and Shrimp. How about a Salmon Omelet, a Deep Dish Tuna Pot Pie, or Dungeness Crab Tater Tots? The Oregon Trawl Commission also offers some seafood recipes, including some videos, such as Spicy Coconut Braised Black Cod or Hake Fish Fingers.

Verlasso Salmon, which farms sustainable Salmon from Chile, provides 24 salmon recipes, including Steamed Verlasso Salmon Bouillabaisse and Sweet Chili Verlasso Salmon Over Asian Noodles. Besides the recipes, they also have a page of Salmon Cooking Techniques, which explain six techniques, from grilling to poaching, to assist you in preparing salmon at home. They also just released a small print cooknook, called Sea Change, at the Expo, with over 20 recipes, from Brioche Salmon Club Sandwich to Seared Salmon with Berry/Chipotle Sauce. Hopefully, they will post this new cookbook on their website in the near future.

The Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries site provides a number of recipes using Japanese ingredients, including seafood. For example, check out recipes for Herb-Roasted ScallopsSalmon Curry, or Sweet & Sour Yellowtail

The Scottish Salmon Producers Association site obviously offers recipes for preparing Salmon, from Salmon Baked In Cream to Twice-Baked Hot Smoked Salmon Souffles. For something other than salmon, the Scotland Seafood site contains about 30 recipes for a range of seafoods, including Skippers, Mackerel, Clams, Hake and more. Enjoy some Smoked Hake & Leek Chowder, Moules Frites, or Classic Fish Pie.

Iceland Responsible Fisheries provides a number of interesting recipes for Icelandic Cod. Try some Pan-Fried Cod with Baked Onions or Cod Loins with Anchovy-Egg Sauce.

The British Colombia Salmon site has four Salmon recipe booklets that you can download. You'll find recipes such as Salmon Miso Yaki, Honey Lime BBQ Kebobs, and Smoked Salmon & Fennel Potato Pizza. Each booklet also has basic info about salmon, from its nutrition value to preparation.

And for something out of the box, consider Ocean Approved, who provide a bunch of recipes that use Kelp, a seaweed! From Smoothies to Salads, Entrees to Desserts, you'll find plenty to intrigue your taste buds. Try a Kelp-Carrot Cake or Eggs A La Mar.

What is your best advice for cooking seafood at home?

2 comments:

Robbie Hardy said...

I didn't realize that you should eat fish so often. I certainly don't eat seafood 2 times a week. It's a spot I should work on, especially if I should be eating 26 pounds a year. I don't think I even get close to that.
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