Look beyond salmon and shrimp
So-called “trash fish” or underappreciated species such as lionfish, rockfish, cape shark, pollock, and redfish, are readily available, inexpensive and tasty, but people don’t know much about them. That’s beginning to change, however, as chefs get behind this movement. “Pollock is just as good as cod, porgy is so flavorful that you can use it just like you use bass, and cape shark is one of the most used fish in England for fish & chips,” says Seadon Shouse, chef at Halifax in Hoboken, New Jersey, who routinely turns “trash fish” into treasure. “Redfish is a quite delicate fish, like fluke of flounder, so it works well paired with mild flavored sauces such as a lemon parsley butter or a picatta.” Here are six delicious fish recipes to try.
Mind your mercury
While swordfish, shark, tilefish, and King mackerel are known to contain mercury, which can negatively affect the central nervous system, the average person won’t get mercury poisoning from eating recommended amounts of commercially sold seafood (meaning, seafood that is sold in restaurants and supermarkets), says Rima Kleiner, a dietitian and blogger at Dish on Fish. However, in January, the EPA updated their advisory regarding mercury-laden fish and concluded that women of childbearing age (16–49), pregnant and breastfeeding women, and young children should seek out fish that’s lower in mercury. If you’re in any of those categories, it’s recommended that you eat two to three servings (8-12 ounces for adults and children over age 10, smaller amounts for younger children) of a variety of fish and shellfish each week. (Consider skipping canned tuna in favor of tuna packed in pouches to avoid can-lining chemicals such as BPA or its newer alternatives, which may be linked to adverse health effects.)
If it’s farmed, ask questions
There are grave concerns about farm-raised fish, including the fact that the fish are often given antibiotics and treated with pesticides. But not all farmed fish is off the table. If the fish are processed at a reputable place where they don’t use antibiotics or pesticides, farmed fish isn’t terrible, according to Matt Bell, meat and seafood senior category manager at Dean & DeLuca, a gourmet grocery chain in New York City. And farmed fish does have some notable benefits. “As demand has gone up for seafood, so has the need to farm fish. Farmed fish can be a good alternative to depleting our oceans and over fishing. Aquaculture done right is a way to supplement the wild caught fisheries and preserve the environment.” Farmed seafood also affords the consumer year-round product availability, consistency, and variety. “Like any farm there are good and bad farmers, so it’s important to know the farming practices that are used from where you are sourcing,” he adds. The staff at the fish counter should have some background information about the farms, so don’t hesitate to ask.