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Don’t be a cowardly lion when it comes to seafood

Published 5:04pm Saturday, February 16, 2013

Want to improve your heart health, brain health and more?

There’s no need to be a cowardly lion when it comes to cooking and eating fish or seafood.  If you select the right fish or seafood, and choose simple cooking methods, you can rest assured your dish will turn out spectacular and won’t turn out overcooked and “rubbery.”  With family-friendly recipes, fish and seafood can easily fit into a regular cooking routine.

Why eat seafood?

•Eating two to three servings of seafood per week can offer big health benefits, like reducing heart disease by 30 percent and maintaining brain health.

•Seafood packs healthy nutrients like omega-3s and protein into fewer than a couple hundred calories in a four-ounce serving.

•Eating seafood while you are pregnant/breastfeeding promotes healthy babies, brain and eyesight development.

 To eat more seafood meals each week

•Eat seafood every week on the same day — try Salmon Saturdays or Tilapia Tuesdays or Friday Fish dishes.

•Swap out your favorite American-style foods for seafood versions– like tuna quesadillas, salmon burgers, fish tacos and grilled salmon cheese.

•Put seafood on your grocery list — aim for eight to 12 ounces per week per person.

•Take a quick Friday check to see if you have eaten enough seafood for the week – if not, then add some into the weekend; tuna salad sandwiches or shrimp pasta are quick fixes.

Three simple ways to prepare perfect seafood:

 On the stove

•Heat one tablespoon of oil or butter in pan on medium heat.

•For four-ounce, 1-inch-thick fillets: Cook four minutes on one side and flip with spatula or tongs and cook another two minutes.

•For small shellfish: Cook one minute on one side.  Flip with spatula or tongs and cook another 50 seconds.

•Remove to plate and tent with foil to rest.

 In the oven

•Preheat oven to 350 degrees and create a pouch using a 12-by-12-inch square of aluminum foil.  Place seafood in foil pouch and seal tightly.

•For four–ounce, 1-inch-thick fillets: Bake in pouch for 20 minutes.

•For small shellfish: Bake in pouch for 10 minutes.

•Remove from oven and rest in partially opened pouch.


On the grill

•Heat grill to medium; wipe with oiled cloth.

•For four-ounce, one-inch-thick fillets: Cook four minutes on one side.  Flip with spatula or tongs and cook another two minutes.

•For small shellfish (place in grill basket): Cook one minute on one side.

Flip and cook another 30 seconds.

•Remove to plate and tent with foil to rest.

 Salmon Burgers

Serves 4

All you need

•15 ounces canned salmon, drained

•8 crackers (saltine-type), crushed

•3 tablespoons mayonnaise

•1/4 cup chopped bell pepper (any color), seeds removed

•1 teaspoon lemon juice

•4 drops hot sauce (optional)

Cooking spray or 2 tablespoons olive oil

•4 whole wheat hamburger buns

•4 lettuce leaves (optional)

•4 slices tomato (optional)

 All you do

1. Place salmon in a medium bowl.

2. Add the crackers, mayonnaise, bell pepper, lemon juice and hot sauce (if you like) to the bowl. Mix well.

3. Shape the salmon into 4 patties.

4. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray or olive oil.

Place skillet on stovetop over medium heat.

5. Cook salmon cakes, turning once with a spatula, until lightly browned on each side.

6. Place each burger on a bun bottom. Top each with a lettuce leaf and slice of tomato if you like, add the top of the bun and serve.

Source: Lickety-Split Meals by Zonya Foco/National Fisheries Institute

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