Thursday, April 5, 2012

The fattiest fish is the best fish

Whole sea bass, okra and other vegetables, cooked with sake and lime juice.

We need Omega-3 fatty acids to make our bodies work properly, and there is no more delicious source than wild-caught fish, including salmon and cod.

But you don't have to buy the most expensive fish to get the heart-healthy benefits of Omega-3s, according to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

A seafood nutrition chart shows a 3.5-ounce portion of fresh or smoked black cod, also called sable fish, contains 1,800 milligrams of Omega-3s, but they are among the priciest selections on a menu or in the market.

You can get 500 milligrams of Omega-3s from the same portion of sole, 470 mg from Alaska pollock  and 450 mg from rockfish.

Pacific oysters

Among shellfish, a 3.5-ounce portion of Pacific oysters contains 1,400 mg of Omega-3s.

In January, I ordered black cod at Maritime Parc, an expensive seafood restaurant in Jersey City, but we enjoy Alaska pollock at home at least once a week.

This past Sunday, I found Pacific rockfish on sale at Whole Foods in Paramus for $8.99 a pound (40% off) and bought it to add variety to the wild-caught fillets I usually buy at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack -- Pacific True Cod, haddock and sole.

Pearly white rockfish

We fried some of the rockfish, and coated the rest in a mixture of bread crumbs and chili spices. 

The fillets on ice were reddish, but they turned pearly white in the oven and broke into big flakes when we ate them.

For breakfast this morning, I enjoyed leftover rockfish and  brown rice with cabbage and saltfish (salted pollock) my wife made for dinner last night.

This fatty sashimi comes from a farmed fish and costs $79.99 a pound.

Alaska King or Chinook salmon -- usually the most expensive kind -- provides 1,700 mg of Omega-3s, but you can get 1,200 mg from the same portion of Sockeye and 1,100 from Coho salmon.

A 3.5-ounce portion of Alaska Pink salmon provides 1,300 mg of Omega-3s, but I've never seen fresh or frozen fillets of this fish in New Jersey.

A can of Pink salmon provides 1,100 mg of Omega-3s, compared to 1,400 from a can of much more expensive Sockeye or Red salmon.

Sustainable seafood

Alaska says it is a major source of sustainable seafood -- seafood that is managed and fished using practices that ensure there will always be more to catch in the future.

It's a commitment that dates to 1959, "when Alaskans wrote sustainability into their [state] Constitution," according to the marketing institute.

Canned-fish salad

I buy canned Pink salmon at Costco in Hackensack, and mix it with canned yellow-fin tuna and sardines, plus diced celery, sweet pepper or onion, for a fish salad flavored with Dijon mustard, fresh lime juice and powdered cumin.

Costco also sells frozen Alaska Sockeye salmon fillets, smoked and sliced Sockeye salmon, and salted pollock fillets, which usually are boiled to reduce the salt content before the fish is used in cooking.

Boycott bluefin tuna

Last Saturday, during a visit to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, I stopped at the refrigerated fish case and stared at the veins of fat in a small piece of raw oh-toro -- the prized belly meat from the endangered giant bluefin tuna.

The price: $79.99 a pound. And this piece came from a farmed bluefin raised in Spain. 

I'm boycotting bluefin tuna, which is high in harmful mercury and which has been driven to the brink of extinction by the Japanese.

I'd rather get my Omega-3s elsewhere.

More information about Alaska seafood is available at the following link: Wild, Natural & Sustainable

Everything you want to know about Omega-3s is at the following WebMD link: The ABCs of Omega-3s
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