Guide to Fish and Shellfish
Make lunch or dinner with something from the sea: Fish and shellfish cook quickly and are perfect for quick weeknight meals or a gourmet feast. As a lean source of protein, they provide all sorts of health benefits, including heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These are common types of seafood you may find in the market. Our Types of Fish Guide can help with finding many other varieties of fish. Here’s a guide to finding and preparing these 6 common types of fish and shellfish.
Choose wild Paciﬁc salmon, especially Alaskan salmon, if you are concerned about sustainability. Alaskan salmon populations and ﬁsheries are very well managed. Salmon’s high fat content keeps it moist even when slightly overcooked—so it’s a perfect option for the intense heat of the grill. To add variety to your normal grill regimen, try grilling on a cedar plank. This gives salmon a smoky taste, like in this recipe.
Many recipes call for lump crabmeat. When buying crabmeat, the meat should have a white or creamy color; skip meat that looks gray or blue. Smell the meat, as you would any seafood. Quality crabmeat should smell like the ocean, and the texture should feel ﬁrm and moist. Be sure to remove pieces of shell before using crabmeat in recipes. Try working crabmeat into this delicious recipe, which combines tender crab with wholesome cornbread.
Finding sustainable shrimp is tricky: Wild shrimp are often caught with damaging trawling gear, and farmed shrimp can be tainted. One standard for sustainable shrimp is set by the Marine Stewardship Council— look for the Council’s
Poor-quality scallops are often treated with a saline solution; they’ll look uniformly white and wet. Instead, look for a ﬁshmonger offering “dry-packed” scallops. These haven’t been treated and will vary in color from creamy to light orange. Before cooking, be sure to remove the small muscle from the side of the scallop if it’s still attached, and pat the scallops dry. Try them in the delicious recipe below.
Mussels are relatively inexpensive, and they’re also environmentally friendly. Because farmed mussels are grown suspended in water, there is no dredging the ocean ﬂoor to harvest them. To make sure mussels are alive, tap them to see if their shells close. Toss any mussels that do not close. Mussels cook quickly and can be steamed, smoked, grilled, and baked. Steamed mussels are easy and it's fun to experiment with the broth. Combining coconut and basil is delicious, like in this recipe.
Succulent lobster is available year-round and is least expensive during summer and early autumn. A live lobster should curl its tail under its body when picked up. Cook the lobster as soon as possible after purchasing. You may store it in the refrigerator for a few hours in a cardboard box or paper bag covered with wet newspaper. The lobster should still be alive when you begin to cook it; some cooks kill the lobster immediately before cooking. Try roasting and serving with a delicious dipping sauce, like this ginger sauce in the following recipe.