Aug 18, 2020

How to Eat More Fish

Ever since I started hitting the farmers markets twice a week last year, we've been eating fish at least once a week, and often twice. Then the pandemic hit and I stopped going to the farmers markets. But the fish vendors started offering delivery! So I've been ordering fish every week, and we've actually been eating more fish than ever, because I have to purchase a minimum for delivery. It's been fabulous, and we haven't gotten sick of seafood at all.

Here are some questions you might have about eating fish, with my best answers:

Why should I eat more fish?

Generally speaking, fish is extremely healthy. It's high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for our brain and heart health, and a great source of protein. But it's best to avoid some types of fish, like swordfish, which can be contaminated with higher levels of mercury.

What fish should I  eat?

Salmon is incredibly popular, and for good reason. It's tasty and healthy, and quite forgiving when it comes to cooking. Other healthy choices are cod, trout, sardines, and striped bass.

In addition to our own health, though, it's important to also pay attention to the planet's health. The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch has regional guides on the best sustainable seafood choices to make in your area.

Where should I buy fish?

As you might have guessed, I'm a huge fan of the farmers market. The two local vendors I buy from are DryDock, which ships overnight, and Fisherman's Catch, which delivers to your door. Most farmers markets seem to have websites that list their vendors, so you can find the one closest to you.

If you can't buy high-quality fresh fish from a local vendor, the next best thing to do is buy frozen fish. Like frozen vegetables, fish is frozen to optimize its freshness and quality. Frozen fish is usually cheaper than the fish you get at the seafood counter at the market, and often of better quality.

I used to buy frozen fish at Costco, particularly the tilapia and flounder, which I found I could bake from frozen, no defrosting required. Costco also carried many other frozen varieties, including salmon, halibut, and cod.

You can also buy fish online from various sellers. I haven't tried any of these, but a quick search online led me to Honolulu Fish Co., Crowd Cow, and Catalina Offshore Products. ButcherBox, where I buy meat from every month, also offers a limited selection of seafood but I've never tried theirs so I can't vouch for it. (That's an affiliate link, so if you join ButcherBox through it, I'll make a little money at no additional cost to you - thank you!)

Okay, you've convinced me. But how should I cook fish?

My favorite way to cook fish is a simple bake and/or broil. I cook salmon the same way almost every week:
  • Remove the scales from the skin, if any.
  • Place on parchment paper coated with cooking spray on a baking sheet. Season liberally with salt and pepper or seasoned salt.
  • Bake at 400 degrees until a metal knife inserted in the thickest part comes out hot, about 15-20 minutes. (Cook until fish flakes easily if you like your fish well done. Salmon is fatty enough to be forgiving if you overcook it a little bit.)
  • Remove fish from oven. Flip over and peel skin off. Place skin scale-side up on another baking pan lined with parchment and bake at 400 degrees until crisp, about 5 to 15 minutes. The crispy skin is delicious!
I also regularly make this miso cod recipe, and this baked fish fillets recipe is an easy one for beginners. Plus, you can find almost 150 fish and seafood recipes that I've pinned over on Pinterest.

In all honesty, I've had lots of fails at cooking fish, but they've helped me figure out the ways I've successfully cooked fish, so I encourage you to just try and see what happens. And let me know what your favorite fish recipe is in the comments!

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