What is the best fresh seafood?

We all want seafood that’s high in nutrients and low in toxins.  Fish – the oily ones like salmon, tuna and (yuck) sardines provide the healthy omega-3 oils that nourish our brain and heart. But because we care about oceanic environment and over fishing, we want our seafood caught sustainably.

The Best Fish

  • Wild Salmon caught in Alaska, such as Sockeye, Chum, Chinook, Coho and Pink
  • Fresh water Coho Salmon
  • Albacore Tuna
  • Pacific Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Anchovies

With that being said, if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breast feeding, limit yourself to only 6 ounces of Albacore Tuna per week because of the mercury level.  I read that the FDA recommends staying away from swordfish, tile fish, mackerel and shark due to harmful mercury levels.  These recommendations should also be followed for the diets of young children.

Did you know… eating fish during pregnancy may have a positive impact on your baby’s brain.  In a recent study with mice, Japanese researchers found that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega 3s, newborn mice had smaller brains and poor emotional behavior when the mice reached adulthood.  The researchers noted a similar dietary pattern has become more common in people.  That’s good enough for me…so, if you’re thinking of getting pregnant, eat a diet that includes a good amount of healthy omega 3s to improve the brain development of your precious baby.

I’ve done some research on farmed salmon because I love to eat salmon. What I found is disturbing…they generally are fed chemicals to make the meat red and fed ground up fish containing PCPs.  In fact, farm raised salmon may have 7 times the levels of PCPs as wild. Farm raised salmon aren’t privy to a “wild” diet (wild salmon feed on krill), therefore, have much lower levels of Omega 3s.  Farmed raised salmon live in crowded pens and are easily infected with parasites. They are treated with antibiotics to combat lice and those antibiotics are then consumed by us resulting in our being more antibiotic resistant.  It’s been all over the news lately.

Alaska has banned salmon farms.

So…for me, I’m sticking to wild…it’s double the price but well worth it when you consider what you’re putting in your body.  Plus, wild salmon are caught with gear that does little damage to the environment.  Sold. When you find it at a good price, stock up and freeze in single serving size freezer bags for up to 4 months.  Just let it defrost in the fridge overnight….never on the counter.

Did you know… BPA-free canned wild salmon is an excellent economical choice and in certain markets you can find it in pouches.

Shocking News Update You Need to be Aware of…

If you eat raw or under cooked salmon, you may be putting yourself at risk of being infected by a tapeworm. The CDC has published a warning stating an invasive Japanese broad tapeworm, once only found in Asia, may be found in salmon caught on the Pacific coast of North America. This includes wild Alaskan salmon. The tapeworm can grow to 30′ in length. Yes…30 feet.

The following 4 salmon species are particular risks as they are transported all over the world without being frozen.

  • Chum
  • Masu
  • Pink
  • Sockeye

So, what are we to do? 

How can we enjoy eating healthy salmon without the risk of being infected?

  • Purchase frozen salmon or freeze fresh salmon for a minimum of 15 hours at -31 degrees to kill parasites.
  • Cook your salmon to an internal temperature of 145 degrees to remove any dangerous pathogens not killed by freezing.

Do I have to give up my Sushi?

No…but I would be vigilant in knowing exactly where your Sushi comes from. Enjoy it in reputable restaurants where they pride themselves on the best and never purchase Sushi in supermarkets as the guy behind the counter has no clue where it came from other than their seafood distributor. I’ve asked this question about salmon that is labeled “wild”, but just looking at it, I can tell it’s definitely farmed.

Back to salmon…while the overall risk of being infected may be small, I’ll stick to cooking it. Why take a chance? The majority of people infected by the Japanese broad tapeworm have no symptoms other than perhaps a little upset stomach, nausea or loose stools…but remember…up to 30′. That’s a picture that will be in my mind forever.  

But…for many seafood lovers…it’s all about the LOBSTER!

fresh-stamed-lobsterThe King of Seafood…Bound for Charlotte

When my daughter and her husband to be bought their first home in North Carolina, we wanted their celebratory dinner to be a special gift from “home”.  After all, Chelsea missed her New England roots AND she does love live Maine lobster!  Dale, on the other hand, hales from England so this was a relatively new experience for him.  They don’t have lobster in England.  (Can you imagine?!)

Did you know that a lobster can grow to 45 pounds?  Oh yea…but the best portion size in my opinion is 1 1/2 – 2 lbs.  More on this later…

Living in New England, enjoying fresh lobster is always a delicious treat but really not that big of a deal because it’s so easily available…but in North Carolina – it IS a big deal…a VERY big deal.  The closest they have, as easily accessible, is the Louisiana crawfish.  Here in the northeast we have access to the very best (in my humble opinion) lobster in the country…Maine cold water, hard shell lobster…enough said…and I’m sure we northerners take that for granted.

So…off to the fishmonger I went to purchase 4 Maine hard shell lobsters; have them steamed while I waited and brought them home where I immediately tucked them away for a long freezers night.

bon voyage…

The next morning I prepared them for departure.  At this point the lobsters, frozen in their shells, were put into a sealed plastic bag and placed into a box just the right size so they were tightly packed and surrounded by several frozen gel packs.  I mailed them “overnight”…a tad pricey but for a very special occasion, worth every penny, or should I say dollar.  My only hint of the surprise en route was sending a text message saying “Don’t make dinner plans tomorrow evening.  Dinner will be arriving at your doorstep…just pick up a few lemons and extra butter on your way home.”  🙂

The lobsters arrived on schedule and needless to say – Chelsea and Dale’s first dinner in their new home was THE best delicious New England treat…a smashing success!

Of course you can have live fresh Maine lobster shipped directly to you from a number of lobster companies but you will pay through the nose.  I chose the DIY method to provide a delicious memory at an affordable price.

Bringing home live and kicking lobster for dinner?

If you’ve just picked up lobster for a delicious and succulent dinner, just keep them in the lower section of the fridg in a plastic bag until ready to prepare.  If you plan on having them tomorrow, you need to wrap each of them in damp newspaper and put them in a plastic bag with frozen gel packs.  In the refrigerator, a hard shell lobster will stay alive for 36 hours.  Whatever you do, don’t remove the rubber bands around the claws…they’re there for a reason and if  you like your fingers…you’ll not remove them.    lobster-claw

This is how we do it in New England…

For boiled lobster, prepare a big pot of well salted (I use sea salt) boiling water.  Gently place each lobster head first into the boiling water and quickly cover.  Boil 10-12 minutes or until the tail is stiffly curled under the belly and the shell is a nice shade of red.

For steamed lobster, fill a big pot with 2″ of water, 1-2 tablespoons sea salt and a steam rack on the bottom.  If you don’t have a steam rack that fits your pot, you can always use wadded up aluminum foil.  Bring the water to a boil.  Place the lobster into the pot head first, cover, bring back to a boil and steam 10 minutes for a 1lb lobster, 12-14 minutes for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2lb lobster and 16 minutes for a 2 pounder.

If you have your fishmonger steam lobster for you while you wait (a major time saver) keep them in the fridg until dinner.

Serving suggestion:

Serve one lobster per person along with a “nut” cracker, seafood scissors, a seafood pick, a bowl for the empty shells, a small bowl with melted butter, lemon wedges and plenty of paper napkins and wet wipes. If you don’t have a nut cracker, you can use a mallet.  Lobster cracking and eating is a deliciously fun but messy meal.

This is the traditional way to enjoy lobster, however, depending on your guests and your dinner menu, you may opt to do the “cracking” yourself.  If you choose this method, heat a large skillet on medium-low heat and melt sticks of butter.  Don’t scrimp here…use the real thing…no margarine allowed!  Extract the meat from the tail and claws, letting the meat warm in the melted butter.  Save the legs and suck out the meat and juices…just do it.  The lobster meat is going to soak up the warm buttery goodness and will practically melt in your mouth.

To Eat or Not to Eat

The roe is considered a delicacy, “lobster caviar”, but only if it’s red in color.  Black roe indicates it wasn’t steamed long enough to turn red.  Although some enjoy consuming the tomalley (the green stuff), I don’t  recommend it as tomalley is actually the liver and pancreas and because it acts as a filter, it may contain high levels of toxins.

Does size matter?

As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion the perfect portion size is 1 1/2 – 2lbs each.  Hard shell lobster tend to have more meat, however, the soft shell lobsters are much easier to crack.  Some say the smaller ones tend to be sweeter but the much larger ones have more meat per pound.  Ultimately, size doesn’t matter when it comes to lobster, it’s all based on personal preference and the perfect cooking time…don’t overcook your lobster!            Maine-lobster

Serve with chilled pinot grigio,

Skål

Please leave a comment if you enjoyed this blog post or even picked up on something you weren’t aware of. I look forward to your comments, suggestions and if you have a question…I will help to get an answer.  Click “Seafood” in the menu bar for some delicious recipes! Thanks for sharing!

 

                  

 

 

 

 

 

32 comments to What is the best fresh seafood?

  • Lee

    Sea food is something i am very ‘picky’ with but I’m not sure why. Im actually a big fan of all the fish that you stated part from anchovies. Its very interesting the research you have on pregnancy, i didn’t realise at all that omega could have such a great effect on the unborn. Thanks for all the information, i certainly going to be using it in the future.
    Many Thanks

    • Karen

      Hello, Lee…thank you for your comments. I, too, am not a fan of anchovies but do like the flavor in certain dishes. I get around this by using anchovy paste. I can use as little as I want and don’t have to deal with the little fish.

      Thanks for visiting and I hope you will come back often. Until then…Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Susan

    Very informative. Never realized you could send a lobster in the mail.

    • Karen

      Hello, Susan Thanks for stopping by and yes, you can send lobsters in the mail if they are packed correctly and shipped overnight. It’s a bit pricey but for a special occasion…totally worth it.

  • EllieCommunicates

    I loved your post about seafood. I don’t like eating fish much, but I love seafood and I definitely like easy and quick meals.
    I like that you implemented some interesting facts to make the read more enjoyable. I especially likes the fact that a lobster can grow to 45 pounds. Just imagine – so much of its delicious meat yummm.
    Your post made me salivate and start planning a trip to the shops tomorrow. I would love to see more easy meals recipes with seafood. Please provide recipes for other seafood as well (prawns, octopus, squids) as I am not familiar how to cook them, but I love them in restaurants. I would love to be able to cook something for my family.

    • Karen

      Ellie, Thank you for your feedback and comments. Octopus and squid? I’ve tried both in restaurants but don’t care for either so it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see recipes for them on my site. Keep checking back, though, as I’ll be adding additional seafood recipes using clams, mussels and prawns soon. In the meantime, please give my crab bisque and lobster bisque a try…I think you’ll be very happy.

  • Holly

    Hi Karen,

    Great post on seafood – I’m not a big fan of shellfish i.e. lobster but do like tuna and salmon etc. Very interesting facts on wild vs farm raised salmon. Will definitely be sharing these facts with my bf as he is currently going through a smoked salmon and cream cheese phase and has it every morning on bagels. 🙂

    Also – we do have lobster in England. Where I live in London we have some of the best seafood restaurants in the world… we just have stricter rules on fishing due to the depletion in stock. A lot of it is imported from North America as a result 🙂

    I will be keeping an eye on your website for more interesting food facts and recipes as I am a big foodie enthusiast and always looking for innovative ideas!!!

    • Karen

      Hello, Holly…I enjoyed reading your feedback and comments. And thank you for setting me straight on lobster availability in England. I have never tried smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel before but it does sound delicious. In fact, as I already have bagels in the pantry and cream cheese in the fridge, I’ll pick up some smoked salmon today and give it a try.

      Thanks for stopping by…hope to chat again soon.

  • Samantha

    I first had lobster during a trip to PEI in Canada, and make sure to have as many lobster rolls as possible whenever I’m in New England. This post is making me hungry!

    For some reason, I never thought to make lobster at home. I appreciate you showing us how easy it can be. Thank you! I will have to bookmark this post and return later the next time I’m feeling like some good lobster.

    • Karen

      Hi Samantha…I’m glad you enjoyed my blog on the best seafood. I also love lobster rolls but am usually disappointed with the amount of lobster in them. BUT last week on a day trip to Salem, Massachusetts to visit all the historic sites for Halloween, we enjoyed the absolute best lobster rolls I’ve ever eaten. Loads of lobster with just a hint of celery and a little bit of mayonnaise in a butter toasted bun. It was to die for.

      I look forward to hearing how you prepare your own first lobster dinner and please check out my recipes for preparing salmon. You’ll be glad you did. Karen

  • Get Sport Supplements

    I thought your website was very appealing to your niche audience. It dealt with plenty of great blogs on helping relevant to your specialist area. The pages and posts are presented great and are well constructed. You seem to truly care for your readers by the amount of time you put into research to give them all the info they would need for selecting their products. I give you a 10 out of 10.

    • Karen

      Thank you very much for your feedback and great comments. I appreciate your visiting my site and hope you will come back often as there is always something new added…and if there is something in particular you would like me to focus on, please let me know.

      Karen

  • Jeremy

    Hey Karen!
    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    Lobster is hands down the best seafood money can buy.
    While I have to admit that a weekly trip to our local red lobster is the way we usually go, reading through some of your cooking suggestions has given me the courage to give it a try at home 🙂
    Thanks for the great article!
    I’ll try to stop back by and let you know how it goes.
    ~Jeremy

    • Karen

      Jeremy…thank you for your comments and thoughts…please check out my “Seafood” menu for different recipes that I know you’ll love, but… if you have a special seafood craving or recipe you’d love to have…just let me know and, as a true New Englander, I’ll help get the recipe for you (and me).

      If you have a special seafood craving or recipe you’d love to have….just let me know and I’ll help get the recipe for you.

  • Lucinda Freestone

    Hi Karen

    Loved your post. Lobster is my favourite seafood – I could live on it if I could afford. That an Oysters. Living in Australia, lobster is pretty plentiful but expensive of course.

    I have heard of Maine Lobster but have never had it of course as I have never been there!! Do they export it.

    By the way, you can get lobster in England. I am from England and know that they fish for it off the coast Great Britain. I remember going on a holiday to Scotland and helping put out the lobster pots.

    Enjoyed your post and the recipe. Thank you.

    Regards
    Lucinda

    • Karen

      Thank you, Lucinda..I love the fact you are replying from Australia…my daugher-in-law lives there and this makes me feel just a bit more connected….perhaps one day I could ship Fresh Maine Lobster to you???

      Best wishes,

      Karen

  • Pennifer

    You made me drool and took me back 30 years! When my boyfriend at the time graduated from a company-paid cable-splicing course, his class decided they would celebrate the end of their training by ordering live Maine lobster shipped all the way to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada! The celebration was a simple outdoor gathering, but the menu was first class all the way! The lobster was truly unequalled, and the fun we had trying to crack them was the best! Thanks for the walk down memory lane!
    Penny

  • Trevor

    Very informative post, i’m regular reader of your site.
    You deserve to be in top ten.

  • Elizabeth

    Great post! I feel like I can taste the lobster just from reading your description. I must have some soon! You should post a recipe for lobster salad. Lobster rolls are my favorite thing to get when visiting the northeast!

    • Karen

      Thank you for your feedback, Elizabeth. Good suggestion for lobster salad – I’m on it! Please check back soon as I’m working on my site everyday. 🙂

  • Evan

    I Loved how you added your own personal spin to this, I see wondrous potential in what your site has to offer. I came here to read your post but when I finished I was craving and even imagining having a lobster meal! Wonderfully done, looking forward to what you have to offer.

  • Adrian

    Wow! I had no idea about Salmon and the chemicals.

    I really liked this post. Now I really want some lobster!

  • Papa Dave

    Oh, shut up!!!
    For those of us in the South, who used to be from the Northeast, reading this was just torture…I’ll go to the kitchen but nothing will satisfy, again.
    Good blog! Interesting read!
    Good luck!
    Franzwell (Papa Dave)

  • Andrew

    Great stuff here, my mouth is watering just reading about lobster! Mmmmm! I can’t believe they can grow to 45 pounds, that’s crazy!

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