I sure do love a good seafood dish. And one of my favorite things about making seafood at home is that it usually doesn’t take long to cook, which means it’s a totally doable dish for any busy weeknight.
A question I get a lot though is, “Where do I buy my seafood?” While I’d love to buy all our seafood directly from the fisherman (and I sometimes do at our local farmers’ market here in NC!), it’s not realistic for me to do that 100% of the time. Not to mention some of you don’t live anywhere near the coast, so for you that would be near impossible. So believe it or not, I often buy our seafood straight from the regular old grocery store – and I’m pretty happy with what I can get there most of the time!
What I Look for in Seafood…
- Wild Caught.
In general, I think wild-caught seafood is the way to go. Unless you’ve visited the fish farm yourself and approve of their practices, I think farm-raised can be questionable. Any animal that’s “wild caught” means they were raised in their natural environment eating their natural diet. And the healthier the animal is – the healthier it is for you.
- From My Continent.
I also personally look for fish from the United States (or at least my home continent), which is fortunately not too hard to find around here. Oftentimes some seafood (such as shrimp) is mass produced in less than ideal environments overseas so I just prefer to keep it close to home. Not to mention shrimp caught closer to home tastes so much better, and it’s much better for our environment in general to purchase food that doesn’t have to travel very far to get to our plates.
- Fresh or Frozen.
I don’t mind if seafood has been previously frozen as long as it hasn’t been sitting around for more than a day or two after being defrosted. I also of course like to buy fresh seafood when it’s available, but in a similar fashion I want to make sure it hasn’t been sitting in the display case very long. In either instance – don’t be afraid to ask questions (I always do) such as when did the fish arrive here at the store? And if you’re still feeling uncertain about how “fresh” the seafood might be, just ask to smell a piece. That usually does the trick.
- No Artificial Dyes.
Believe it or not some colorful seafood, such as salmon and even fish eggs, are treated with artificial food dyes. Since I mainly shop at a health food store that doesn’t allow food dyes this is not something I encounter a lot, but if you’re buying your seafood from a mainstream supermarket this is something you want to ask questions about (and avoid, of course!).
For some, ensuring seafood is sustainable in addition to real is an important factor. And while there are stores (such as Whole Foods) that do the homework for you by labeling their products as either “green” or “yellow” (and not even offering anything that’s “red”), in most cases you have to do your own research. So for that I want to recommend the free Monterey Bay Seafood Watch App. It’s a super simple way to quickly check your options before making a purchase at the store.
Now that I’ve got you in the mood for some seafood (hey, that rhymes LOL), here are a few recipe ideas for you! Again, these all come together fairly quickly so in my mind that makes them great weeknight meals.
Seafood Recipe Inspiration
- Moroccan Fish with Mango and Couscous (pictured below – couscous is another recipe that comes together in no time!)
- Asian Salmon Cakes
- Almond Encrusted Fish with (an easy) Beurre Blanc Sauce
- Weeknight Green Curry Shrimp
- Simple Seafood (page 263 in my cookbook)
- Grilled Teriyaki Salmon (page 272 in my cookbook)
What’s your favorite seafood dish?