Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Keeping it healthy: Seafood doesn't need butter, bacon or brown sugar

This month, The Costco Connection, a magazine sent to Costco Wholesale members, is recommending a totally unnecessary addition to a luxurious meal of Red King Crab Legs and Dungeness Crab -- a half-cup of butter.


Fresh lime or lemon juice is all I need to enjoy lobster, king crab or plump sea scallops.

In the past few years, I've made a wonderful Red King Crab Leg salad with Dijon mustard, fresh lime juice, cumin and other seasonings.

But retailers like Costco Wholesale and Trader Joe's seem to think premium seafood shouldn't be served without butter, brown sugar or bacon.

Experts say lobster, crab and other shellfish contain levels of cholesterol comparable to land animals.

Where they have the edge is much lower levels of saturated fat, which is found in butter, bacon and other food.

Replacing saturated fats in your diet with sources of polyunsaturated fats -- such as ocean fish with omega-3 fatty acids -- can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.

When I emailed a photo of my Red King Crab Salad to Tim Talevich, editorial director of The Costco Connection, he replied the dish looked delicious and the magazine would consider "healthier options" next time.

Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, which is sent to customers' homes, raves about Scallops Wrapped in Uncured Bacon with Brown Sugar Glaze.

The Costco Connection's Recipe for Shrimp Fettuccine (misspelled in the magazine with one "c") includes two tablespoons of butter.
Trader Joe's Crab Cakes, right, are made with both a Mayo Dressing and Worcestershire Sauce, according to the ingredients label, below. They also are more expensive than the Phillips Seafood Restaurants' 3-ounce crab cakes sold at Costco Wholesale.

A good buy at Trader Joe's in Paramus on Saturday was a large stalk of Brussels Sprouts for $3.99. Ignore the recipe on the tag for roasting the whole stalk with 3/4 cup of maple syrup. Another problem is the recommended wrapping of the stalk in plastic wrap, and heating it in a microwave on high for 4 minutes or 5 minutes. That could lead to the transfer of chemicals to the Brussels Sprouts from the cling wrap.

I found a recipe online for oven roasting the Brussels Sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, though I used a lower temperature to avoid burning the outer leaves. I should have followed the recipe and trimmed the hard, fibrous stem after removing the sprouts from the stalk and washing them. I also recommend cutting the larger sprouts in half.

Trader Joe's most flavorful pasta sauce, Puttanesca, contains no added sugar. Ingredients include Italian tomatoes, capers, olives and anchovies.

I boost the flavor of skinless-and-boneless Icelandic Haddock ($8.99 a pound at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro) by coating serving pieces in Asian-Indian Spices from a box of Fish Masala, which you find in an Indian grocery.

I start with fresh spinach drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, above, then add spice-coated fish, chopped pitted olives, fresh tomato slices and reduced-fat grated cheese, below.

The haddock was ready after about 12 minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven.
On Thanksgiving, I served a Red King Crab Salad with chopped celery, carrot, onion, and sweet pepper dressed in Dijon mustard, fresh lime juice, cumin and other spices.

Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto from Costco is as rich as butter, but made with extra-virgin olive oil and reduced-fat grated cheese. Pesto nicely complemented two Maryland-style jumbo lump crab cakes sold at Costco under the Phillips Seafood Restaurants label.

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