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by Deborah Dove
Not surprisingly, the most common New Year’s resolution that Americans make is to lose weight, both by exercising more and by improving their eating habits. If you are one of those who have vowed to eat healthier in 2008, experts recommend doing so by adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals, replacing processed carbohy¬drates with whole grains, and including more fish in your diet. Not surprisingly, most people find including more fish in their diet to be one of the most challenging of these suggestions.
What kind of fish do you buy? Perhaps, like me, you don’t really like fish that tastes "fishy." How do you cook it? Look no further; your fish primer is here. We’ll tell you all you need to know to make adding more fish to your diet easy and tasty, with some great fish recipes that will make eating healthy easy for your whole family.
For healthier eating, you should aim to have fish at least twice a week. Fish with a mild flavor that even the kids will eat include orange roughy, tilapia and catfish. Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines contain Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat which can help to reduce total blood cholesterol, protect the heart and circulation and may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers and all fish are packed with healthful vitamins and minerals.
As an added benefit to eating more fish, researchers found that elderly men and women who more frequently ate fish scored better on memory, visual conception, spatial motor skills, attention, orientation and verbal fluency tests.
Experts stress that the health benefits of fish outweigh the concerns about mercury levels and over fishing. Although the FDA says pregnant women, women who might become pregnant and young children shouldn’t eat fish with high levels of mercury (shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish) at all and shouldn’t have more than two meals a week of any kind of fish, the American Heart Association says non-risk adults and kids can safely eat 14 ounces a week of fish with mercury levels that average 0.5 ppm. Following are a few recipes to get you started.
Baked Fish with Sour Cream Sauce
Go easy on the sauce if you like a crispier fish fillet
1-1/2 lbs. orange roughy fillets
1 (8-oz.) container low fat sour cream
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. crushed pretzels (or Italian bread crumbs)
2 Tbs. butter or margarine, melted
Place fillets in a single layer in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
Stir together sour cream and next 4 ingredients; spread mixture evenly over fillets. Sprinkle with pretzels, and drizzle with butter.
Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Broil an additional 2-3 minutes or until topping is browned and crunchy.
Creole Onion Crusted Tilapia
A delicious, easy recipe from my friend Angie Constantine-Vinez that even my one-year old loves
1 large can of French-fried onions
4-6 tilapia fillets
Place French-fried onions in a large Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin. Empty into shallow bowl. Rinse tilapia fillets and pat dry. Brush fillets with olive oil. Sprinkle with Creole seasoning, and then roll in onion crumbs. Bake at 350º for 18 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Crispy Herbed Fish
One of my husband’s favorites
1 envelope Shake N Bake chicken seasoned coating mix
1-1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves, divided
4 4-oz. orange roughy fillets
Line a 15x10x1-inch baking dish with foil; spray foil with cooking spray. Mix coating mix and basil in a Ziploc bag. Add fish, one piece at a time, and shake gently to coat. Place in pan. Bake at 400º for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Salmon Croquettes with Low Fat Remoulade
A kid favorite, and easy to boot with canned salmon
1/3 c. plain fat-free yogurt
1-1/2 Tbs. low-fat mayonnaise
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. chopped green onions
2 tsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tsp. capers
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Dash of hot pepper sauce
1/3 c. low fat cottage cheese, blended or processed in a blender or food processor until smooth
1 Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 large egg whites
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1-1/2 c. crushed saltine crackers (about 15-22 crackers), divided
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 (6-oz.) cans pink salmon, skinless, boneless, and drained (such as Bumble Bee)
4 tsp. butter
Fresh tarragon sprigs (optional)
To prepare rémoulade, combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl; cover and chill.
To prepare croquettes, combine cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon mustard, and egg whites in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1/2 cup onion and celery; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Combine onion mixture, cottage cheese mixture, 1/2 cup crackers, 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and salmon in a bowl; toss gently. Cover and chill 10 minutes. Divide salmon mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Coat patties evenly with remaining crackers. Cover and chill 20 minutes.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties; reduce heat to medium. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve croquettes with sauce. Garnish with fresh tarragon, if desired.
A classic from mom, and the one that my husband always requests
1/3 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 c. minced onion
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1 c. water
2 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 Tbs. minced parsley
Melt butter in heavy skillet on high heat. Add flour and stir until it is light brown. Lower heat, add shrimp and cook about three minutes or until pink. Add garlic, onion, parsley and green pepper and cook an additional two minutes. Raise heat; gradually add water, then remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Serve over rice.
4 salmon or tuna steaks, approximately 1 inch thick
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. cooking sherry
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice plus 1/2 tsp. zest
1 small clove garlic, crushed and minced
3 Tbs. olive oil
Arrange fish in a shallow, glass dish. Whisk together marinade ingredients in a small bowl; pour over steaks. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, turning frequently. Place fish on a well-greased grill or grilling basket and grill over medium coals for about 3 to 4 minutes, basting frequently with marinade. Turn and cook 3-4 minutes longer.