Saturday, March 14, 2009

Go fishing with me

There is so much great fish out there. My favorite meals involve seafood, and I have developed a strategy for eating fish that are low in mercury and making fish a part of my daily diet.

I have read that the Japanese eat more fish per capita than other groups, but judge for yourself how close behind I am. In my refrigerator, there is a container of smoked, preservative-free wild salmon from Costco, salted cod with red pepper and stewed whiting from the Korean supermarket in Little Ferry, and more salted codfish my wife uses to prepare that great Jamaican breakfast, ackee and saltfish. In my freezer, I have frozen wild salmon, also from Costco.

Just about every morning, I assemble a fish sandwich for breakfast, using that wild lox, Moroccan sardines or canned red salmon and yellow fin tuna. Humus or made-at-home yogurt cheese is my preferred spread for the sandwich, which usually includes salad mix, sliced tomatoes with za'artar (a spice mixture available at Fattal's in South Paterson) and sliced Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese. A great, stick-to-your ribs breakfast, accompanied by green tea and a small bowl of kimchi.

This morning, I used the Korean-style salted cod to make an overstuffed omelet and ate it with Fattal's pita (toasted) and two kinds of kimchi. One dinner we had last week were small, whole sea bass with vegetables, which we enjoyed with basmati rice and black beans. The week before, we fried meaty ocean perch for dinner. Last night, I had a grilled mackerel at a Korean restaurant in Palisades Park. Yes. I really love fish.

Stick with wild-caught seafood if you can. Avoid too much bluefin tuna, lest you get hit with a mercury overdose, like the condition alleged by actor Jeremy Piven. I have read that farmed salmon is artificially colored, and that the salmon farmers can even pick from a palette of colors for their fish. In northern New Jersey, the variety of fish and the prices at H Mart in Englewood, Little Ferry and Ridgefield can't be beat. Fish is cheap. It's flown in from all over the world and even some of the fishing boats based on the Jersey coast roam hundreds of miles out to sea to bring home their catch. So don't overpay.

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