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Seafood 101

Posted March 19, 2014 in Advice Column, Downtown

Before I ask you if you like to eat seafood, maybe I should first ask the other three important questions: Do you know why you should be eating more seafood? Do you know how to buy seafood? Do you know how to properly cook seafood? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then I’m going to assume you don’t like to eat seafood. Here are some helpful hints to aid in buying, cooking and eating seafood.

Seafood has so many health benefits that most health providers recommend you eat fish at least two times per week. Fish is one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids which may help:
• Lower cholesterol.
• Lower triglycerides.
• Reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
• Improve memory.
• Improve behavioral disorders.

Tips for buying fresh seafood
• Use your senses: sight, smell and touch.
• Only buy seafood that is displayed on a bed of ice and under refrigeration.
• Fish fillets should display no discoloration, darkening or drying around the edges
• Fresh fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy or sour.
• The flesh should spring back when pressed.

Most frozen fish today compares in quality to fish directly out of the water. Fresh catches are immediately processed and frozen at very low temperatures, frequently right on board the vessel.

Tips for buying frozen fish
• Whole fish should be free of ice crystals, with no discoloration.
• There should be no signs of frost or ice particles inside the package.
• Fillets or steaks should be solidly frozen in the package.

Most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. If you don’t have a food thermometer, there are other ways to determine whether seafood is done. The flesh of fish should be opaque and separate easily with a fork. With shrimp, lobster and scallops, the flesh turns opaque.

Now that you know the health benefits, and how to buy seafood, I hope you try out the recipe below to help incorporate seafood into your diet.

Brown Sugar Salmon
All you need:
4 (5- to 6 oz. each) salmon fillets
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

All you do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place salmon, skin-side down, on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake until salmon is cooked through (145 degrees internal temperature), about 12 to 15 minutes.

While salmon is baking, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce and mustard in a medium skillet over medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove from heat, and ladle sauce over salmon. Serve over a bed of quinoa and a side of vegetables for a wonderful lunch or dinner.

Information provided by Stacey Wertzberger, Hy-Vee Chef, 4605 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, 515-285-7266.

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