As you probably know, 72 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Having been born in an island nation, the Philippines, seafood was frequently on the menu at our house. The variety of seafood all over the world is astounding. When you think about it, seafood is one of the last “wild’ foods we eat.
What makes seafood such an ideal FoodTrient, is that it’s:
- Nutrient-dense – For the number of calories in a three-ounce portion, seafood provides good amounts of vitamins A, B, and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and 30-40% of the daily RDA of protein. Fish and shellfish are rich in calcium and phosphorus and great sources for minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.
- Low calorie – A three-ounce serving of low-fat fish such as cod, sole and flounder contains about 100 calories and about 30-40% of the RDA for protein. Even fattier fish like salmon and mackerel only contain about 200 calories in three ounces.
- Health benefits – Decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension.
- Complete protein source – Provides essential nutrients for developing infants and children and contains enough of essential amino acids to assure healthy growth and tissue repair.
- Easier to digest – Seafood has less connective tissue than red meats and poultry.
With the huge number of species of fish and shellfish pulled from the oceans of the world, there are endless delicious possibilities.
Peru Goes Fishing
Located on the west coast of South America and sitting just south of the Equator, Peru has a 1,500-mile coastline. There is a long tradition of fishing in the country and a wave of Japanese immigrants arrived in the late 1800s in search of gold, bringing with them culinary traditions that feature seafood.
Peruvian Fresh Fish Ceviche
½ large red onion, thinly sliced
1 lb. fresh fish such as sea bass, red snapper, dorado, mahi-mahi or tilapia cut into
3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 tsp. sea salt to taste
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 fresh serrano or jalapeño chili pepper seeded and finely chopped
¾ cup fresh lime juice (4–6 limes), freshly squeezed
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 cup diced tomatoes)
1 cup diced English or Persian cucumber
1 ear sweet corn, kernels scraped off the cobb
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 firm avocado, diced (use one that’s barely ripe)
1. Slice the red onion very thinly, salt generously and let stand 15 minutes until it begins to release its liquid (this removes bitterness). Rinse well, squeeze dry.
2. Place fish, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, fresh chilies and lime juice in a shallow bowl; gently mix and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The longer it’s marinated, the firmer (or more ‘cooked’) the fish will be.
3. Before serving, add in the fresh cilantro, cucumber, corn, tomato and a drizzle of olive oil; toss gently.
4. At the end, gently fold in the avocado
Vietnamese Shrimp Salad
There’s an elegance to Vietnamese food. The flavors are bright and showcase lean protein, seafood and vegetables. Vietnamese Shrimp Salad is a light, healthy meal of bold flavors and crunch. Typical of Vietnamese cuisine, nuoc cham dipping sauce accompanies this salad. You can dip the salad elements in the sauce or drizzle it like a salad dressing.
Vietnamese Shrimp and Noodle Salad with Nuoc Cham Sauce
1 lb. jumbo shrimp, 16/20 size, peeled and deveined
2 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
¼ cup rose wine
2 Tbs. and ¼ cup fish sauce, divided
1 Tbs. soy sauce
¼ cup lime juice, divided
2 Tbs. plus ¼ cup honey, divided
1 ½ Tbs. minced garlic, divided
2 Tbs. lemongrass, thinly sliced (available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Asian markets)
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
¼ cup water
1 red Thai chile, seeded and minced
8 oz. thin rice noodles
8 cups Romaine lettuce or baby greens, torn
1 cup shredded carrots (use a food processor, if you have one)
1 cup English or Persian cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise into 2-inch pieces
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 small jalapeño pepper, sliced
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ cup mint leaves
½ cup basil leaves
¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1. For the marinade: in a medium bowl combine shrimp, 1 Tbs. vegetable oil, wine,
2 Tbs. fish sauce, soy sauce, 2 Tbs. lime juice, 2 Tbs. honey, 2 tsp. minced garlic and lemongrass.
2. Marinate the shrimp for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. For the nuoc cham sauce: in a small bowl whisk the ¼ cup fish sauce, 2 Tbs. lime juice, ¼ cup honey, rice vinegar, water, 1 tsp. minced garlic and minced chile.
4. Taste and add 1-to-2 Tbs. of water if needed, then set the sauce aside.
5. In a medium-sized pot bring 6 cups of water to a boil.
6. Turn off the heat, add the noodles and allow to sit until tender, about 3 minutes.
7. Remove noodles, transfer to a colander, rinse with cool water and drizzle a small amount of oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Set aside.
8. Heat 1 Tbs. vegetable oil in a large (cast iron, if you have one) skillet over high heat; add the marinated shrimp in one layer.
9. Sear shrimp until a brown crust is formed, about 1-to-2 minutes; flip and cook until no longer translucent, about 1 minute. Transfer shrimp to a plate.
10. Evenly divide salad ingredients and arrange into 4 bowls– Romaine lettuce (or baby greens), rice noodles, carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, basil, shrimp, green onions, jalapeño slices and roasted peanuts.
11. Drizzle the sauce (nuoc cham) just before serving or serve on the side for dipping.
Israeli Inspired Salmon
Salmon is not typical of Middle Eastern, North African or Israeli cuisine, but it’s a nutritional powerhouse and readily available all over the world. You can also use whitefish, sea bass or halibut. The real story is in the sweet/spicy sauce, served throughout the region. The fish is just the vehicle for the zesty Chraimeh sauce.
Israeli Salmon Steaks in Chraimeh Sauce
1/2 cup sunflower or avocado oil
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
4 Atlantic salmon steaks (about 1-1 ½ lb. total)
6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 Tbs. dried, freshly toasted caraway seeds, ground
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 Anaheim green chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup water
3 Tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. honey
1 lemon cut into 4 wedges
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbs. chopped cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a large frying pan (for which you have a lid) heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over high heat.
2. Place the flour in a shallow bowl or large zip-lock bag, season with salt and pepper and coat the fish fillets. Shake off the excess flour and sear the fish, about 1 ½-2 minutes on each side. Remove the fish to a plate and wipe the pan clean.
3. Put the garlic, chile, spices and 2 Tbs. of the oil in a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes a thick paste. Add more oil, if needed, to consolidate the paste.
4. Pour the remaining oil into the frying pan, heat well and add the spice paste; fry for about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the spices; carefully add the water (watch out for spattering) and tomato paste to halt the cooking of the spices; bring the mixture to a simmer and add the lemon juice and honey; add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Put the fish in the sauce, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, until just cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat, take off the lid and let the fish sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
6. Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh cilantro. Serve with rice or cous-cous.
Southern Cooking in the USA
Langoustines are actually prawns or large shrimp. Though there is some dispute about the definition, what’s not in dispute is how sweet and delicious they are. The Creole seasoning is traditional in the American South and gives the dish its distinctive flavor. This garlicky, juicy recipe is fast, simple and can be cooked on a barbecue. The splash of lemon and vermouth makes those juices perfect for dipping bread into.
Southern Style Lemon and Garlic Langoustines with Creole Seasoning
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. butter
1 ½ tsp. Creole seasoning (recipe follows)
3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
8 langoustines, raw fresh
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs. vermouth
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish
1. Heat a large skillet (cast iron, if you have one) over high heat. When hot, turn heat to medium-high, add the oil, butter, garlic, Creole seasoning and then immediately the langoustines.
2. Cook for 5 minutes on each side; add the vermouth and lemon juice and allow to bubble away for a minute or so.
3. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with crusty sourdough bread.
Makes about 1/3 cup
· 1 Tbs. onion powder
· 1 Tbs. garlic powder
· 1 Tbs. dried oregano
· 1 Tbs. dried basil
· 1/2 Tbs. dried thyme
· 1/2 Tbs. black pepper
· 3 Tbsp. smoked paprika
· 1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Store in an air-tight container. Also good for meat, chicken, soups and stew.